Jaw Pain? It Might Be TMJ

Do you feel a nagging jaw pain that just won’t go away? It is possible that you may now have a TMJ or TMD issue. The sooner you are able to receive treatment for your TMJ pain, the better your outcome for treatment will be. TMJ is a serious health issue that can lead to other problems down the line. If you’re wondering whether your jaw pain is TMJ and what you should do, this blog is for you. Keep reading to learn more about TMJ, TMJ treatment, and what to do about your jaw pain.

What Is TMJ?

Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are disorders of the jaw muscles, temporomandibular joints, and nerves associated with chronic facial pain. Any problem that prevents the complex system of muscles, bones, and joints from working together in harmony may result in temporomandibular disorder.

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research classifies TMD by the following:

  • Myofascial pain. This is the most common form of TMD. It results in discomfort or pain in the fascia (connective tissue covering the muscles) and muscles that control jaw, neck, and shoulder function.
  • Internal derangement of the joint. This means a dislocated jaw or displaced disk (cushion of cartilage between the head of the jaw bone and the skull), or injury to the condyle (the rounded end of the jaw bone that articulates with the temporal skull bone).
  • Degenerative joint disease. This includes osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the jaw joint.

What Are The Symptoms of TMJ?

Depending on the severity and intensity of the jaw pain or injury, there are a wide range of symptoms to varying degrees. Someone experiencing TMJ and TMD may experience all of these symptoms, or only a few of them. It is important to take note of which of these symptoms you are experiencing so that your TMJ specialist can ensure the best possible treatment protocol for your specific case.

Some of the most commonly reported symptoms of TMJ and TMD include:

  • Change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together
  • Clenching or grinding of the teeth
  • Clicking or popping of the jaw
  • Dizziness
  • Earaches or ringing in the ears (not caused by an infection of the inner ear canal)
  • Headaches
  • Jaw discomfort or soreness (often most prevalent in the morning or late afternoon)
  • Limited mouth motions
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Numbness or tingling sensation in the fingers
  • Pain spreading behind the eyes, in the face, shoulder, neck, and/or back
  • Sensitivity of the teeth without the presence of an oral health disease

Are There Risk Factors for TMJ?

TMJ is unique to every person who suffers from it. There are many different causes and root issues that stem from TMJ, which is why the treatment surrounding TMJ can be complex. There is no cookie-cutter treatment method or pill to take. Instead, your TMJ specialist will need to analyze your specific case. Knowing the root cause is helpful.

There are many different reasons that TMJ may arise. Risk factors and common causes for TMJ and TMD issues include:

  • Acute trauma or injury to the jaw or face
  • Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding or clenching
  • Dislocation of the disk between the ball and socket joint
  • Improper bite
  • Stress

TMJ is generally diagnosed during a dental checkup with your regular dentist. After a diagnosis, you can seek further specialist TMJ treatment, such as at M Gorman Dental. The things your dentist may look for while diagnosing you with TMJ includes:

  • The range of motion of your jaw and how it relates to your pain levels
  • How you open and close your mouth
  • Press on your face and jaw to find the areas of pain
  • Feel for clicking or popping while you open and close your mouth

Does TMJ Cause Other Issues?

Yes! There are many issues that can stem from TMJ and TMD. These issues do not get better over time; they only worsen, which can create other health issues.

Sleep Apnea

According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million people in the United States suffer from sleep apnea, many of whom have not been officially diagnosed. When sleep apnea goes unnoticed, people cannot receive the treatment they need. Initially, this can lead to daily issues such as headaches, fatigue, and poor memory. Over time, sleep apnea can lead to more serious health concerns, including diabetes, hypertension, and stroke.

Sleep apnea can be categorized into three different types:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea: The most common form, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the airway has been blocked, such as from tissue relaxing in the back of the throat.
  • Central Sleep Apnea: When central sleep apnea (CSA) is present, the brain does not send the proper signals to the muscles responsible for breathing.
  • Mixed Sleep Apnea: Mixed, or complex, sleep apnea involves a combination of both central and obstructive sleep apnea.

Migraine Headaches

Migraines can be very debilitating. Anyone who has ever had a migraine knows how awful and painful they can be. TMJ disorders can cause migraine-like headaches. Since the jaw is pulling on facial muscles in an unnatural way, it can lead to stress in certain areas that should not receive stress. As such, migraine-like headaches will follow.

If you are experiencing migraine-like headaches in addition to jaw pain, there is a high likelihood that you are suffering from TMJ.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is ongoing pain that gets worse over time. Since TMJ and TMD issues only get worse, there is an increased risk of developing chronic pain while suffering from TMJ. It is difficult to eat properly, sleep properly, and enjoy life. Chronic pain can also lead to other issues, such as depression and substance abuse.

Behavioral Issues

TMJ and TMD can be extremely painful for those who experience it. As such, many individuals may slip into depression, experience high levels of anxiety, attempt to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs or become addicted to painkillers while experiencing TMJ and TMD issues.

When Should I Call a Doctor?

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms of TMJ, are suffering from jaw pain, and want to have a better quality of life, you should make an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible. M Gorman Dental offers a wide variety of dental services, including the treatment of TMJ and TMD issues.

You should also call for an appointment if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Tenderness or pain in your jaw, face, shoulders, or neck
  • Pain around your ear that feels like an earache
  • Pain when opening or closing your mouth, such as when eating a hamburger
  • Frequent headaches that seem to be getting worse
  • Pain or discomfort whenever you use your mouth for everyday activities, such as chewing or speaking

TMJ Treatment with Gorman Health and Wellness

If you’re ready to get rid of your TMJ pain for good, we can help you.

Dr. Gorman has helped thousands of people from Los Angeles and around the country find lasting relief from TMJ and TMD. Using clinically proven, holistic treatment methods, Dr Gorman treats the root cause of TMJ and TMD, not just mask the symptoms.

As a highly trained dentist in the treatment of TMD, Dr. Martin Gorman has spent years learning and practicing the most advanced technology and research to bring relief to TMD patients. The heart of our practice is to help you find freedom from TMJ and related symptoms—especially TMJ tension headaches and migraine headaches. Dr. Gorman’s firm commitment to his patients is to provide relief from migraine headaches, teeth grinding, jaw popping and clicking, ringing in ears, as well as any jaw, face, head, or neck pain related to TMJ. His approach is a comprehensive program for treating all TMJ issues.

Our office has made a commitment to be life-long learners. We are active members of a variety of organizations at local, national, and international levels. We also frequently attend continuing education courses. Those courses focus on research in all aspects of cosmetic, implant, restorative, and preventive dentistry.

With more efficient and more successful methods being made available all the time, our staff continues to participate in superior educational forums for the creative exchange of knowledge and ideas. This ongoing training helps us build and develop our capability in many areas to provide you with the best treatment available.

For more information on Dr. Gorman and fixing your TMJ issues as soon as possible, contact us today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *