Stress and TMJ Disorders

While Americans everywhere are struggling with an increased level of stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those suffering from TMJ disorders have a lot to deal with. Even if their condition has been under control, constant stress can bring symptoms back. Dr. Joyce Kim, a dentist in Williamsport, PA, explains what those with TMJ disorders may be facing.williamsport, pennsylvania dentist

Increased Pain

Stress usually means that you’re grinding and clenching your teeth more. If you already have a nightguard to help with TMJ disorder symptoms, that may keep you okay while you’re sleeping. However, it’s likely that you’ll be doing it during the day with increased stress as well. You may catch yourself grinding your teeth subconsciously throughout your day.

This means you’re probably going to be experiencing a lot more pain. This usually occurs throughout your jaw, ear, and face. You’ll have more headaches than normal. The tension from increased pressure on your teeth may radiate throughout your neck and shoulders as well. If you notice it throughout the day, try to consciously relax your jaw to minimize pain.

Decreased Jaw Function

More pain also means more problems with your jaw. It’ll likely pop and click when you’re doing normal tasks. When you’re chewing or talking, you may have issues moving your jaw into certain positions. It can lock up and cause difficulty in opening or closing it.

Since you’re isolated, it’s hard to get the full treatment. However, there are exercises and massage techniques you can look up and do at home. If you’re in isolation with a family member, roommate, or partner, see if they can help you out. Then, when the pandemic is over, Dr. Kim can do a full evaluation to develop a personal treatment plan for you.

Chipped, Cracked, or Broken Teeth

One of the worst consequences of TMJ disorders and more teeth grinding is the wear and tear that it puts on your teeth. This can lead to cracks and breaks. This can range from small, cosmetic chips to severe breaks and cracks.

If you have a serious break, it can expose the pulp of your tooth and be extremely painful. A large crack opens up your tooth to bacteria, leading to tooth decay. It’s likely to get into the pulp of your tooth and cause a need for a root canal. If you have one of these serious breaks, call us immediately. We’re still open for emergency dentistry during the pandemic.

Your Dentist in Williamsport, Pennsylvania

If you’re suffering from a dental emergency, call us so we can see you as soon as possible. After the pandemic, we’ll be here waiting to help you with any increased TMJ disorder symptoms and problems. Call us or schedule an appointment online for the future. We hope to see you soon!