Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD, is a condition that affects the joints, muscles, and nerves in the jaw. It can cause pain in the face, jaw, neck, shoulders, and back. The temporomandibular joint is located just below the ear on either side of the head. The lower jaw connects to the skull, while the skull connects to the temporal bone.
Here are the symptoms of TMJ disorder:
If jaw clicking and popping are frequent occurrences, this could be a sign of the disorder. These symptoms are often most pronounced when the patient yawns or chews food. This may also be accompanied by pain in the temporomandibular joint. Some patients may also notice the locking of their jaw when they open their mouth wide.
Many patients experience headaches as a side effect of TMJ disorder, but the level of pain varies greatly from patient to patient. Some patients only experience minor, occasional aches, while others have severe, debilitating pain that interrupts their daily activities. If you regularly suffer from chronic tension headaches, migraines, or any other type of recurring head pain, be sure to mention this symptom to your general dentist. It is critical to identify the source of your headaches so the appropriate treatment plan can be created.
When teeth grind, pain is often the first symptom to occur. However, many cases of TMD occur with patients experiencing no discomfort at all! This is why regular visits to the dentist are so important. Your dentist will be able to recognize signs of this disorder and provide treatment early to avoid complications and the potential need for more extensive dental work in the future.
Jaw clenching when experiencing stress causes tension in the jaw and neck muscles, leading to soreness and stiffness in the neck. Interrupted sleep cycles due to persistent discomfort often exacerbate the pain.
Many patients who suffer from TMJ disorder experience chronic jaw locking or the inability to fully open the mouth. This can lead to severe discomfort because the patient is unable to chew food fully and even speak clearly. Those with more severe cases of jaw locking may even suffer from drooling and choking while eating.
Patients that are suffering from jaw locking will want to visit their dentist as soon as possible for treatment. The sooner the problem is treated, the better chance the patient has of avoiding further damage to the surrounding tissues.
Jaw misalignment or temporomandibular joint disorder can cause ear pain, ringing in the ears, and vertigo. It’s important to have your symptoms evaluated by a dentist to determine the cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
A dentist can help treat temporomandibular joint disorder using a variety of treatments depending on the cause of your symptoms, including orthodontics, habit reversal training, relaxation techniques, medications, and more.
Talk to your dentist today to learn more about how treatment for TMD can help improve your quality of life! We are at 1405 W County Line Rd, Suite A, Greenwood, IN 46142. Contact us at (317) 885-6400 or visit our website to book an appointment.