The pain of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders doesn’t discriminate. It can affect anyone, including the rich and famous. Popular style influencer Brielle Biermann recently shared her experience with TMJ disorder and surgery to fix her condition.
What Is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is a term used for describing conditions that cause discomfort in your jaw joints or muscles. The most common symptoms include:
- Difficulty sleeping due to clenching teeth at night
- Neck ache
- Clicking sounds in the jaw
- Jaw pain either at rest or during jaw movement
- Orofacial pain
Biermann mentioned another symptom of her painful jaw disorder: chronic pain when chewing food or biting into food. This is a common complaint of those who are living with TMD. She also said she had trouble eating certain foods because they made it difficult for her to chew correctly, and she found it difficult even to take a bite of pizza.
Some patients living with TMD experience problems biting and chewing and make adjustments by tearing food into smaller bites or eating soft foods. However, switching to softer, less nutrient-dense food has an impact and can contribute to malnutrition and unhealthy weight loss.
How Did Her Painful Jaw Get Worse?
In an interview with Good Morning America, Biermann explained how her jaw got worse over time. According to Biermann, she was diagnosed with TMD after experiencing headaches and neck pain. After undergoing several treatments, she eventually decided to undergo surgery to correct her problem.
What Causes Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?
There are many causes of TMDs, including stress, genetics, diet, lifestyle habits, oral hygiene practices, dental health, hormonal imbalances, and even certain medications that also contribute to this problem.
For Biermann, the source of her TMJ pain was caused by prolonged thumb-sucking. Biermann sucked her thumb until the age of 9. And, as a result of her overbite caused by thumb-sucking, she also developed a lisp that made her feel self-conscious.
How Can Thumb-Sucking Contribute to the Development of TMJ Disorder?
Why does prolonged thumb-sucking contribute to jaw development problems? When you suck on something like a pacifier or thumb, it puts pressure on the sides of your tongue, which pushes against the inside of your cheeks and can push your upper jaw forward. This is what caused Biermann’s overbite.
This can also create an imbalance between the two sides of your face, causing swelling and inflammation. Over time, these changes lead to bone growth abnormalities, overbites, airway issues and stress on your jaw joints.
And stress on your jaw joints contributes to the development of painful jaw disorders. Signs of TMD include:
- A popping sound from your ears
- Swelling around your eyes
- Soreness in your neck/neck pain
- Muscle spasms in and around the jaw
- Stiffness in the jaw joints
- Feeling as if your jaw is going to lock in place open or closed
- Sleep disorders
Biermann’s doctor recommended she undergo orthodontic treatment and have corrective surgeries to correct some of the structural defects in her jawbone. She had both procedures done under general anesthesia. Her first procedure involved removing excess bone tissue from her lower jaw. Then, she underwent a second operation in which the doctor removed part of her upper jawbone so it could grow back into place properly.
Does Treating TMD Require Surgery?
Treatment options vary depending on what’s causing the problem. For Biermann, her condition was severe and required surgical intervention. However, other treatments are available, such as oral appliances, neuromuscular orthodontics, massage, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes that can help effectively treat TMD and relieve your jaw joint and craniofacial pain.
How Does Miami Designer Smiles Treat TMD?
At Miami Designer Smiles, we offer several different types of specialized dentistry services to patients who suffer from TMD. We use state-of-the-art technology to diagnose and treat TMJ conditions with minimally invasive techniques to relieve persistent pain in the jaw muscles and joints.
Our goal is to provide our patients with long-lasting results without enduring any unnecessary discomfort during their visits. To learn more about our TMD solutions, contact us today!
What Is Neuromuscular Orthodontics?
Neuromuscular orthodontics is a noninvasive technique used for treating TMD. NM uses gentle traction forces applied directly to the teeth through removable braces. This method allows the patient’s natural tooth movement to occur while preventing unwanted side effects associated with traditional methods of orthodontia. The benefits of this approach include less risk of damage to surrounding tissues, fewer complications, faster recovery times and minimal disruption to daily life.
Learn more about neuromuscular orthodontics in our blog here.