Nail Biting May Lead to TMJ IssuesApr 15, 2017, by
Patients who bite their nails may think it’s just a harmless habit, but it could be causing significant oral health problems, such as damaged teeth and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Whenever you use your teeth and jaws for a function for which they are not intended, you can cause harm.
Biting your teeth places unusual strain on your jaws, which may in turn create tension in the muscles and tendons that facilitate movement in your jaw. When the situation becomes severe enough, the patient will develop a TMJ disorder that may be associated with significant discomfort in the jaw and face and ear pain, as well as clicking, locking or popping of the jaw.
An oral surgeon should be consulted for an evaluation when patients show signs of a possible TMJ disorder, such as the symptoms described above. This type of specialist has in-depth knowledge of the structures of the jaw and their collective functioning. This expertise is valuable in both diagnosing and treating TMJ disorders.
TMJ treatments range from pain management to physical therapy to surgical interventions. Don’t assume that just because you’re seeing an oral surgeon for treatment that you’ll be subjected to an invasive treatment. Surgical interventions are typically reserved for cases when there is some kind of structural defect or damage to the jaw or when patients fail to respond to more conservative attempts to treat the condition.
Nails aren’t the only such potential culprit in TMJ disorders either. Any non-food item that patients routinely chew—like pencils, drinking straws and ice cubes—can create the circumstances in which a TMJ disorder may develop. Your teeth should only be used to chew food!
Biting your nails can promote a number of oral health issues, including TMJ disorders. You should work on breaking this habit if it’s a problem for you. If you are already demonstrating symptoms of a TMJ disorder, call our office for an evaluation and to learn about treatment.