The thing about TMJ pain is that, when patients experience it, they don’t always know why, or what’s causing it. That’s because many of the aches and pains related to TMJ disorder can be so diverse that they don’t even seem related to your jaw. However, because your TMJs control your jaw movement, jaw pain and discomfort when biting and chewing are among the most common symptoms. If you have TMJ disorder, these and its other symptoms can grow worse, making it increasingly harder for you to bite, chew, speak, and more.
Jaw pain and probably more
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, and describes the two large joints on either side of your lower jaw (where it connects to your skull). The function of these joints is intricate; as a combination of gliding and hinge joints, they’re designed to move in a variety of directions, but must do so together to control your jaw. TMJ disorder can describe a variety of conditions that affect this function, whether it’s damage to one or both TMJs, misalignment of the joints, inflammation in the tissues, or more. When it occurs, you may experience a range of symptoms beyond jaw pain, including:
- Frequent headaches, including severe migraines
- Discomfort and occasional ringing in your ears
- Painful muscles in your face, shoulder, and back
- Chronic teeth-grinding (known as bruxism)
- And more
Diminishing comfort when you bite and chew
Depending on the severity of your TMJ disorder, you might not feel any discomfort until you try to move your jaw. Yet, given the fact that your bite is the most-used part of your body, this can be multiple times throughout the day, especially when you’re biting and chewing your food. The force needed to do this can cause the pain to flare in your TMJs, and symptoms such as popping and clicking jaw joints can make the entire process even more uncomfortable.
Other symptoms that seem unrelated
When you suffer from TMJ disorder long enough, the symptoms you experience can grow in severity and become increasingly more diverse. One of the reasons why the condition can be difficult to detect on your own is because not all of these symptoms seem relevant to your jaw function. For example, you might develop chronic headaches for a wide variety of reasons, and for many patients, their dental health may not be the first thing to come to mind. Fortunately, your dentist can detect and gauge your risks of having TMJ disorder sooner if you maintain a consistent schedule of dental examination and cleaning appointments.
Learn how to ease TMJ discomfort
Your TMJs play a huge role in your oral health and bite function. If one or both of them malfunction, it can make everyday things like biting and chewing more difficult. To learn more, schedule an appointment with us by calling Allen & Neumann Family Dentistry in Pella, IA, today at (641) 628-1121.