Although many people separate their dental care from their overall medical care, the two often interlope. Problems with your dental care can affect your body in unusual and unexpected ways. The separation of the two can leave many patients looking for a cause to an unexplained medical condition that is caused by a dental problem. These are some of the most common medical problems that result from an unidentified dental condition.
Temporomandibular joint disorder
Temporomandibular joint disorder, or sometimes known as TMJ, is a problem with the dental joints in the mouth. It can cause pain in your jaw, mouth, and even head. It can cause many sleepless nights and it can be difficult to exactly pinpoint where the pain is coming from. TMJ treatment usually requires that a diagnosis is first made. However, patients suffering from TMJ usually visit their primary physician first, who may not have sufficient experience in diagnosing it. Your dentist, however, can identify and diagnose TMJ and get you on your way to effective TMJ treatment.
Sleep apnea, although not entirely a dental condition, can be worsened by dental problems. Sleep apnea occurs when the body fails to provide enough oxygen during sleep. The body can be awoken suddenly, preventing a good night of sleep. Those who experience chronic sleep apneas can also be risk of more serious of medical conditions from the lack of oxygen. Additionally, sleep apnea and TMJ seem to be related in some ways. According to a study published in the Journal of Dental Research, participants who had obstructive sleep apnea symptoms experienced a 73% higher rate of TMD and TMJ symptoms. TMJ that is brought on by sleep apnea may not have as successful of results with TMJ treatment options.
Chronic facial pain
Chronic facial pain can include a variety of symptoms, including jaw pain, facial pain, and head pain. Chronic implies that the pain is regular and has lasted for a minimum of 6 months. Patients with chronic facial pain tend to visit numerous physicians in hopes of understanding and treating their pain. However, if the chronic facial pain is caused by underlying dental pain, it can be almost impossible to diagnose. Routine family dentistry visits are important in finding the underlying cause of the chronic facial pain. Chronic facial pain treatment often includes a dental inspection.
Chronic migraines are perhaps, the most common physician visit in the U.S. More than 37 million people suffer from migraines in the U.S. Many of these migraine sufferers are left without treatment. A good percentage of them may be caused from dental problems also. An inclusive chronic headache treatment should also include a visit with your family dentist. Sometimes, the misalignment of the teeth or cavities into the root canals can affect the pain in the head. Also, having TMJ can cause many headaches and migraines and TMJ treatment can reduce the number of chronic headaches.
Earaches are rarely associated with dental problems, but can very well be a cause of them. The ear canal runs down the face and into the mouth. Problems with the teeth or chronic grinding of the teeth throughout the night can cause ear pain. Sometimes, cosmetic dentistry such as dental implants and braces can significantly improve the chronic ear pain. With dental implants reporting a success rate of 98%, it is a great option for those with ear pain caused by dental problems.
The dental world and the medical world are often never combined. Your physician never asks about your dental care and your dentist does not request a thorough medical list. This can be a problem because many dental problems can actually exhibit and show symptoms that mimic medical problems. You could spend years trying to figure out the cause of a pain in your face or ear and it could all be due to an easily corrected dental condition. Always consider both medical possibilities when dealing with TMJ, ear aches, chronic migraines, facial pain, and even sleep apnea.