Let’s face it, Millennials are already getting the short end of the stick. Because they’re a favorite target of media outlets (and older generations) for killing the napkin industry, being lazy or entitled or socially underdeveloped, often the other narratives don’t stick, like being the poorest of the last two generations, being the most educated generation to date, and suffering from crippling student debt and rising living costs.
Now, it seems, according to a recent study, Millenials have a whole other problem to worry about: TMJ.
TMJ and Millennials
Functioning as a sliding hinge which connects your jawbone to your skull, the temporomandibular joint plays an important role in the musculature of your skull. When the joint doesn’t function properly, the ramifications can be far-reaching in the body, causing common side-effects like jaw pain, to more obscure like tingling in the fingers or ringing in the ears. While temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ already affects nearly 10 million Americans by some estimates, could it be possible that the disorder is becoming more common? That’s the question some people are asking after a report from ATI Physical Therapy found that Millennials are seeking physical therapy for TMJ more than any previous generation.
Are Younger Generations More Affected by TMJ?
If more Millennials are seeking physical therapy treatment for TMJ, does this mean that Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are more likely to experience the joint disorder than previous generations? There are other studies which have linked certain habits of modern teens, such as chewing gum and getting oral piercings, to higher prevalence of TMJ.
It’s also true that stress can be an exacerbating factor in TMJ, especially when it triggers other symptoms like bruxism (teeth grinding). Continually clenching and grinding the teeth over time can eventually wear out the joint and cause permanent damage. And while other generations have indeed experienced stress, several studies have shown Millennials to be more depressed, anxious, and stressed than any other generation previous. So is stress a major factor in the increased number of Millennials seeking TMJ treatment ?
The evidence doesn’t support this argument but also doesn’t offer another answer. What could be the case is simply that legislative changes like the expansion of Medicaid, which has allowed a significant number of uninsured Americans to receive health benefits, could affect the number of Millennials seeking treatment.
What TMJ Treatment Is Available?
If you’re a Millennial suffering from TMJ, you’re not alone. You also don’t have to suffer forever. As it turns out, there are several types of TMJ treatment available, and many of them can be administered by your local dentist.
Have you been suffering from jaw pain, lockjaw, or frequent headaches? Your dentist can provide drug-free TMJ treatment utilizing therapies which include TENS treatment, and custom-made mouthpieces that help initiate your body’s own healing process.
Dr. Adam Hahn in Columbia, SC has experience helping people with all stages and types of TMJ. He can help you, too. Please call (803) 781-9090 or email Smile Columbia Dentistry today to schedule an appointment with either of our dentists.