Finding the underlying cause of orofacial pain can be frustrating. The symptoms caused by TMJ disorder (TMD) can mimic other diseases and conditions, from sinus infections to Lyme disease. A relationship between TMD and fibromyalgia has been uncovered over the last decade. Your Sheridan dentist, Dr. Donald Coon discusses the link between the two conditions.
What is TMD?
Small, triangle shaped temporomandibular joints, located in the jaw, give you the ability to open and close your mouth. Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) involves pain and stiffness in the muscles and joints of the jaw. Teeth grinding, stress, and injury to the jaw are all causes of TMD, which often requires special strengthening exercises, anti-inflammatories, or a night guard from your dentist, to alleviate discomfort.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is commonly seen by doctors in the rheumatology field, because it is characterized by chronic aches, pains and stiffness in the muscles and joints residing all over the body. A person with fibromyalgia (which is a soft tissue syndrome) generally notices the degree and site of the pain changes on a day-to-day basis. An estimated 8 million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia, with adult women having the highest prevalence of the condition.
The Connection between TMD and Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia pain tends to be most frequent and severe in areas of the body that are the most often used. Since the face and jaw work regularly with tasks like talking, smiling and eating, almost all fibromyalgia patients have TMJ pain. The tension and anxiety that come from chronic pain are also precursors for TMD, further cementing a connection between the two conditions.
Treat TMJ Disorder at your Sheridan Dentist’s Office
While experts cannot pinpoint a specific cause for TMJ disorder, they agree that stress is one of the most dominant factors to its development. For instance, excessive stress can lead to habitual tooth grinding and clenching, called bruxism, which can wear down your teeth as well as place your jaw under continued pressure. If you believe you may have TMJ disorder, or if you experience chronic headaches, earaches, facial soreness, difficulty chewing, or other discomfort in the head, face, neck, and shoulder region, then schedule a consultation with your Sheridan dentist by contacting our 82801 dentist office at (307) 672-7567. We welcome patients from Sheridan, WY and the surrounding communities.