Do You Have Difficulty Swallowing? It May Be Related to TMJ Disorder

Do you ever have a hard time swallowing? 

Difficulty swallowing can be caused by a number of issues, one of which is TMJ disorder. 

Many of the patients who visit Dr. Palmer’s office complain not only of jaw pain and headaches but also the inability to swallow with ease, also known as dysphagia. 

How Difficulty Swallowing Is Closely Related to TMJ Disorder

Symptoms of dysphagia include: 

  • Being unable to swallow
  • Feeling like you have food stuck in your throat or chest
  • Coughing or gagging when swallowing

Dysphagia can be caused by many issues. According to the Mayo Clinic, these can include: 

  • Spasms or tremors of the esophagus
  • An esophageal ring
  • Foreign bodies
  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Scleroderma
  • Radiation therapy

Additionally, dysphagia can be related to TMJ disorder. What is this disorder and why can it make swallowing difficult? 

What Is TMJ Disorder? 

TMJ disorder is a disorder of the jaw joints, or the temporomandibular jaw joint. It can be caused by misalignment of the teeth, as well as misalignment of the jawbones themselves. 

Things that can make symptoms worse include: 

  • Arthritis
  • Trauma
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Stress (which can cause you to constantly tighten your jaw/facial muscles)
  • Uneven and misaligned bite (malocclusion)

TMJ disorder can lead to chronic headaches and migraines, as well as facial, neck, and shoulder pain. How is it related to dysphagia? You can experience difficulty swallowing because the muscles of your head, jaw, and neck are too tight. When they’re too tight, they don’t function properly, which can make chewing and even swallowing difficult. 

Can TMJ Disorder Be Treated Naturally, Without Surgery? 

Thankfully, there’s a jaw pain treatment that can also treat your dysphagia. West Kelowna dentist, Dr. Shauna Palmer, can provide you with a TMJ treatment plan, which often includes an orthotic device, that can reduce your symptoms. All of this can be done safely without surgery, and yet, it’s effective. 

TMJ Treatment in Kelowna, British Columbia

With her training in physiological principles in treating TMJ disorder and dysphagia, Dr. Palmer looks at what the root cause of your symptoms is before diving into a treatment plan. Understanding the cause gives her a better idea of what sort of treatment is really going to work best for your needs. 

Talk to Your Dentist Today About Investing in a Custom TMJ Treatment Plan

When it comes to creating a TMJ treatment plan, there’s no one-size-fits-all plan. 

When you see Dr. Palmer, she’ll evaluate your needs and create a treatment plan that will work best for you. 

Part of your treatment might include bite equilibration and a physiologic sleep appliance. Or, your treatment plan might include orthodontia, as well as a custom-fit orthotic. 

Whatever the case may be, you can rest assured that Dr. Palmer will find a way to treat your TMJ disorder that will reduce your painful, uncomfortable symptoms, including difficulty swallowing. 

Are you sick and tired of the pain and discomfort of TMJ disorder? We can help. Contact us today to schedule a comprehensive examination and we’ll create a treatment plan that can reduce your symptoms significantly.