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The TMJ is the jaw joint, also called the temporomandibular joint that connects the jawbone to the skull near the temple. It is located slightly in front of the ear. This joint, along with other muscles and ligaments enables you to speak, yawn, chew, and swallow with ease. When an issue called TMJ disorder is present, there are specific TMJ symptoms to look for.
Where Jaw Pain Comes From
The TMJ works much like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. TMJ disorders can cause aching in the muscles that control jaw movement, as well as pain in your jaw joint. Jaw pain from TMJ disorder can be temporary or last many years.
What are TMJ Disorder Symptoms?
TMJ disorders are essentially issues affecting the jaw joint. The jaw pain can affect one or both sides of the jaw. TMJ disorder affects over 10 million Americans, including children and adults. Often, people do not know about the issue with the temporomandibular joint until undergoing a diagnosis with a certified TMJ dental specialist, such as Dr. Moradi. Indeed, TMJ symptoms often seem to start without any obvious cause. Symptoms of TMJ disorder / TMD may show up progressively over time, and every patient exhibits these symptoms differently. Common signs of TMJ disorder to look for include:
- Teeth grinding or chipping
- Sensitive teeth, without other dental problems present
- Jaw pain
- Inability to fully open your mouth
- Frequently broken crowns
- Popping or clicking noise while you chew, bite, or yawn
- Tinnitus (noise or ringing in the ear, without infection)
- Sleep apnea disorder
- Difficulties breathing
- Perceiving noises inside your head
- Mild-to-severe headaches, including migraine headaches
- Improper fit of the teeth (upper and lower teeth misalignment)
- Awkward feeling of bite
Other Ways to Treat a Migraine Headache Caused by TMD
If you suffer from severe headaches migraines, it is advisable to consult with a dentist who specializes in TMJ disorder treatment to see if your pain is related to jaw joint dislocation. Regular dentists or physicians will not have an answer for you on this subject as they do not have the specialized treatment education, experience, or proper dental instruments. The process for treating a TMJ headache focuses on properly positioning the jaw to relieve pain by relaxing the muscles. This sophisticated treatment provides relief for the neck and facial muscles because they no longer need to keep straining to position the teeth to bite, due to jaw misalignment. While a regular dentist concentrates on the teeth, bones, and gums, our team at Dental Wellness Group has precise focus on the tissues (soft and hard), muscles, and nerves, which are all areas influenced by a misaligned jaw. We understand how to effectively treat a migraine headache due to TMJ issues. Our goal is to help align the bite in a neuromuscular way, while at the same time realigning the neck, jaw, and head. Once the muscles are no longer facing immense tension, head posture can improve and become optimal. Also, chewing patterns improve as chewing muscles link to the jaw’s movement. When the jaw improves, then so do the muscles of the neck and head. The interconnections are complex but a TMJ headache specialist understands them. Treatments to remedy a migraine headache due to TMJ issues, will also alleviate TMD and pain of the head and neck. The options take into account the associations between jaw position, posture of the head and neck, and dental restriction. Phone Dental Wellness Group, office of Dr. Moradi at 713-590-9777 now to find out more about TMJ disorder treatment and ways to relieve the associated migraines.
Additional TMJ Symptoms
A person may also experience muscle spasms that make swallowing difficult. Jaw pain, particularly in the joint or nearby, may also occur. Typically, the pain is just in front of the ear and can spread to the ear, cheek, and temple.
Tenderness and Pain
The face, neck, and shoulders may feel tender or even painful to the touch. The face may feel fatigued and even swell on the side with the issue. Migraine headaches and toothaches are other symptoms of the disorder Alternatively, opening the mouth wide may cause it to “lock” or “stick” in an open or closed position. Other people find the jaw joint clicks, pops, or makes a grating noise when opening or closing their mouths. As these sounds can be normal, they are only relevant when occurring along with other symptoms in the joint. Chewing may be uncomfortable and difficult to do if the upper and lower teeth do not fit properly together.
TMJ Symptoms in the Ear
As the ear is quite close to the jaw joint, symptoms may occur in the ear. Ringing in the ear, dizziness (called vertigo), earaches, and hearing problems are examples of issues in or around the ear associated with the disorder. A person may also have a sensitivity to sound.
How Common are TMJ Disorders?
Temporomandibular joint disorders are quite common. About one in every four people will have some kind of jaw problem during their lives. However, only about one in twenty of those people affected will seek out a doctor for help. For the relief of TMJ symptoms and to get to the cause of the disorder, it is imperative to see a TMJ disorder dentist. Teeth grinding and chipping can wear away the teeth while pain and discomfort may limit the sufferer’s lifestyle. Take the first step to feeling better by scheduling a free consultation with our office now! Call 713-590-9777 to speak to our friendly team.