Jaw pain, headaches, and earaches are no joke, especially when they have become chronic and are a problem 24/7. Moreover, in most cases, that pain is related to TMJ disorders, that's why here at Harper Dental, we know how important it is to identify it and treat it on time.
Causes of Jaw Problems
The temporomandibular joint is capable of acting as a hinge and also in a sliding motion, so it's a complex structure that can easily get damaged. Bone is covered in cartilage at the joint and small disks serve as separators and shock absorbers. This is usually enough for movement to be smooth and flawless. However, issues such as discs slipping out of place or eroding, cartilage getting damaged, or hard impacts that damage the jaw can affect the jaw's efficiency.
There's no particular cause of TMD so it can be difficult to identify it for each person, especially when the joint doesn't present any specific problems. However, factors that usually result in TMD are jaw injury, teeth grinding, a dislocated jaw, arthritis, and stress. In this case, stress acts as a trigger. When your body is stressed from lifting heavy objects or from complicated situations, it might cause you to grind and clench your teeth, which can aggravate TMD.
Symptoms of TMD
TMD is more common among women between twenty and forty years old, but men can still suffer from it. As we mentioned before, there's no definitive cause, but there are similar symptoms that can help identify it.
The most common symptoms involve the jaw directly, such as tenderness, pain when you bite, yawn or chew, jaws getting stuck, and also clicking and popping sounds when you simply open your mouth. It's important to note that there are other symptoms that might not be that obvious as well.
Among the less evident symptoms are pain either in or around the ear, tinnitus, facial pain, swelling on one side of your face, dizziness, and even headaches. There are also cases when your teeth might be sensitive yet after a check-up, there is no issue, which means it's most likely related to TMD.
There are many varied symptoms, and other conditions can have similar reactions as well, so the best way is to stop by our clinic so we can evaluate you. We'll start by ruling out any other possible causes such as arthritis or gum disease.
We'll then ask a couple of questions regarding your overall health and history, before proceeding to examine you. On this exam, we'll check your joints to see if there's any pain or if there's any grinding, or odd sounds when you move them. We'll also make sure it doesn't get locked and that your bite is aligned properly.
Most cases can be resolved with self-care practices that we'll indicate after your consultation. However, if your case seems more severe, we might need x-rays, a CT scan or an MRI to get a better picture of your joints and discs, and their condition.
For more information about TMJ/TMD or to schedule a consultation, call the experienced professionals here at Harper Dental at (479) 431-0280 today!