As anyone who has ever suffered with problems associated with their temporomandibular joint (TMJ for short) will tell you, it can cause aches and pains that can be debilitating and frustrating. In addition to migraine headaches, popping or clicking noises in the jaw and sensitive teeth, TMJ disorders also frequently cause pain in the face and neck.
What you may not know is that TMJ pain can also cause general stress and anxiety in patients.
What are the Symptoms of TMJ-Related Anxiety?
Every patient experiences TMJ symptoms in their own way. However, if you are experiencing some or all of the following common symptoms of anxiety, it may be related to an undiagnosed TMJ disorder:
- Muscle tension
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Headaches, particularly tension headaches
- Panic attacks
- Bruxism (the grinding, clenching or gnashing of the teeth)
- Other neurological symptoms
Having TMJ problems can make you feel stressed, out of sorts, and anxious, which can lead to experiencing these symptoms. If your anxiety is making you clench your jaw or grind your teeth, you may inadvertently be worsening the TMJ symptoms, at the same time as you wear down your teeth.
Because of the relationship between TMJ and anxiety, you may find yourself caught in a vicious cycle of TMJ- and anxiety-related pain. If you already have anxiety, TMJ can make the condition worse.
How Can TMJ Treatments also Treat Anxiety?
Because of the relationship between TMJ disorder and anxiety, treatments designed to relieve the facial pain, neck pain, headaches and jaw pain may also relieve the anxiety that comes with TMJ.
To diagnose TMJ, your dentist will need to examine your teeth, review dental X-rays, observe your range of motion when you open and close your jaw, listen to, and feel the movement of your jaw, and ask about your symptoms and pain or discomfort.
If you are suffering from anxiety or stress as a result of your TMJ, your dentist and doctor will work to establish treatment plans designed to meet your specific symptoms. Treatment options will vary from patient to patient, but may include medication, behavioral therapy, physical therapy, chiropractic visits, and dental devices. For some patients, from establishing a correct neuromuscular bite to alleviate the TMJ symptoms to full mouth reconstruction to maintain that bite.
Some patients find some relief from TMJ pain and anxiety through stretching and massaging the jaw muscles, applying heat or ice to the affected area, and avoiding things like chewing gum or sticky foods that can make TMJ problems worse.
TMJ Pain is No Fun. Shallowford Dental Can Help.
If you are living with the aches, pains, and anxiety that can come with TMJ problems, treatments are available. Your first step should be contacting Shallowford Dental in Marietta at (770) 578-1331 to schedule an initial consultation. If you prefer, you can also schedule your consultation appointment online.