Occlusal disease/TMD is caused by a misalignment or incorrect relation between the teeth of the upper and lower dental arches, also called malocclusion. If left untreated, occlusal disease can damage your teeth, the supporting bones and gums around your teeth, temporomandibular joints, and the jaw muscles you use for chewing.
Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect your lower jawbone to your skull. These joints get a lot of use throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Pain in and around these joints can be unpleasant and may even restrict movement.
Symptoms of TMD or Occlusal Disease include:
- Pain in the jaw area
- Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
- Frequent headaches or neck aches
- Clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves
- Swelling on the sides of the face
- Muscle spasms in the jaw area
- A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
- Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth
Should you notice any of these symptoms, let your doctor know. Your dentist can help indicate the presence of TMD or occlusal disease and create an effective treatment just for you.
Many people dismiss excessive or abnormally accelerated tooth wear as "natural aging or wearing" of teeth, but your dentist can provide treatment to alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by occlusal disease.