If you have facial pain, it might be caused by a temporomandibular disorder. TMD occurs when the joint connection of the mandible to the cheek portion of the upper skull has become inflamed. There are a number of issues that can cause this to happen, among which are excessive stress; misalignment of the jaw, bruxism (teeth grinding), or an injury to the jaw. While these are the common causes, recent studies indicate that a procedure such as a root canal can lead to TMD pain. Even those with sleep apnea are realizing the effect TMD can have on them.
Temporomandibular Disorders May Have Surprising Causes.
As many as 35 million people have been diagnosed with a TMD, which is sometimes referred to as temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. About 95% of those diagnosed are women. It is unclear why exactly vastly more women suffer from this condition than men. It is worth noting that the side effects of TMD may result as chronic pain in the jaw area; headaches; pain or discomfort while chewing; and a clicking sound when the jaw is moved.
About 18 million Americans have sleep apnea. This disorder causes the suffer to have difficulty taking in enough oxygen during sleep, which causes the body to awaken just enough to begin breathing normally again. The person falls back asleep, often without even knowing they’ve awoken in the night.
Some studies are finding evidence that sleep apnea symptoms and TMD can occur together. A study published in the Journal of Dental Research discovered that people with obstructive sleep apnea have a 73% higher chance of also having TMD symptoms as well. It is unclear what the exact connection is, however both problems deal with the jaw and consequently, the throat.
For some reason, a procedure as common as a root canal may also lead to TMD symptoms. Experts suspect the problem might lie with the method of the procedure. A root canal is performed when the soft tissues of the tooth are inflamed or infected. The positioning of the patient’s open jaw to allow the procedure to be performed may cause strain to the soft tissues of the mandible joint’s connection to the cheek bone.
The symptoms of temporomandibular disorder are chronic pain in the jaw and face area. Some cases may clear up on their own, however it is always a good idea to speak with your doctor. The cause might be due to teeth grinding, stress, obstructive sleep apnea, or a recent dental procedure such as a root canal. Whatever the cause might be, talk to your doctor about possible treatments to relieve your pain.