chronic pain and depression

A Hidden Disorder behind Chronic Pain and Depression

admin_lde TMJ

chronic pain and depressionErie, Harborcreek and Millcreek, PA

Temporomandibular joint disorder, which is more commonly referred to as TMJ disorder or TMD, is a serious medical condition that can affect the way you live your life. It is a common condition affecting nearly 10 million adults in our country. Laser Dentistry of Erie does not want you to be one of the millions of Americans who suffer from TMJ disorder and its effects for years without realizing what’s causing your symptoms. If you don’t understand the problem, you can’t seek a solution, so Dr. Albert Starr wants to help you understand the connection between temporomandibular joint disorder, chronic pain, and depression.

Symptoms of TMJ disorder

Your jaw pain may be new, or you may have suffered in silence for years. Whether you’ve been diagnosed or not, the symptoms of TMJ disorder are often farther-reaching than you realize. People usually associate TMJ disorder with muscle soreness, hearing popping or clicking in their jaws while chewing, and jaw pain. These three symptoms are in fact issues associated with TMJ, but they’re not the only issues that can come from this potentially debilitating disorder. Your temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to your skull. A nervous system structure runs down this complicated area and into your spinal column. That means that the problem in your temporomandibular joint can impact your jaw and then cause a domino effect of pain that cascades into other areas of your body. Symptoms can include tension headaches, shoulder pain, back pain, dizziness, and even tinnitus (ringing in your ears). Any combination of these symptoms can be signs of TMJ disorder. Laser Dentistry of Erie finds that patients have been misdiagnosed or ignore their symptoms because they didn’t associate them with TMD, which means that they often end up getting misdiagnosed by their regular physician.

Treat TMJ disorder to regain your quality of life

Just because you’re not experiencing lockjaw or muscle pains doesn’t mean that TMJ disorder isn’t affecting you. Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is a symptom of TMD that doesn’t cause pain, but can greatly disrupt your day. It can make you frustrated, keep you awake at night, and make you irritable. Seemingly chronic ear infections also can occur due to TMJ disorder. At Laser Dentistry of Erie, we’ve encountered patients that lose motivation to speak or chew because of tension in their jaw. In some cases, TMJ disorder causes chronic pain to the point that it may cause the sufferer to experience a great deal of depression. That is no way to live your life.

Although temporomandibular joint disorder is well known, its treatment methods are not. Treatment can be hard to predict because what works for one case of TMJ disorder may not work for you. The reason for this is TMJ disorder is an umbrella term used to treat a plethora of issues. Laser Dentistry of Erie strives to ensure you are diagnosed as soon as possible so that Dr. Albert Starr quickly can begin finding solutions that suit your specific case. TMJ disorder can lead to nerve and bone damage depending upon the type of issue you’re facing. This ailment can be caused by cartilage damage, joint damage, or disk erosion and misalignment—meaning you are more likely to suffer from TMJ problems if you have had an injury, certain types of arthritis, chronically grind or clench your teeth, or have certain connective tissue disorders. If you have any reason to suspect you have TMJ disorder, the sooner you seek diagnosis, the sooner you can find relief.

Get a diagnosis for TMJ disorder in Erie

Dr. Albert Starr is a trained expert who, in 2009, continued his father’s successful dental practice. Dr. Starr recently was named an LVI Fellow and has studied neuromuscular dentistry—the specialty that focuses on TMJ disorder—at the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. Dr. Starr and his professional staff at Laser Dentistry of Erie can help relieve your TMJ disorder. Even if your symptoms are manageable at this point, don’t wait until your suffering intensifies to get yourself checked out. TMJ disorder isn’t going away and only gets worse without proper treatment. Don’t let it endanger your lifestyle. Contact our staff today at (814) 825-2615 to schedule a consultation.

Laser Dentistry of Erie serves patients located in the areas of Harborcreek, Millcreek, and Erie, PA.