The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect the skull with the jawbone. Any problems in these joints are referred to as TMD or TMJ disorders.
These joints are just like other parts of the body and can swell, become sore, or even end up fractured. TMJ issues can also limit the jaw movement and radiate pain towards the neck and head. The pain associated with these disorders is often temporary, except in the case of TMJ arthritis.
The condition affects a higher number of women compared to men. Various studies have pointed out that more than 10 million Americans suffer from this disorder. Let’s take a look at details about ten of the most common TMJ disorder symptoms.
1. TMJ jaw pain
There can be multiple reasons behind the jaw pain. It can be triggered due to blood vessel problems, nerve-related issues, or as a result of a physical injury. But, TMD tops the list of reasons.
TMJ jaw pain happens to be one of the most commonly reported symptoms by patients around the world. It occurs in temporomandibular joints or masticatory muscles. The patient might experience mild or severe pain, even when there’s no jaw activity. The duration of the pain episode varies; it can last for weeks as well as months in some cases.
A considerable percentage of individuals suffering from TMD also end up with a locked jaw. The function may recover within a few minutes. Most of the patients suffering from jaw pain seek medical help only after the pain becomes severe.
2. TMJ causing ear pain
Persons suffering from temporomandibular joint disorders often experience pain in their ears. The hinge of the jaw is located below both ears. Thus, patients experience pain even if they yawn, talk, or chew something.
Subtle muscle spasms, jaw overuse, an improper bite can put pressure on the jaw muscles and result in tenderness as well as pain that can radiate into the ear. Similar joint trauma can able be caused due to accident-related head or neck injuries.
A proper checkup is necessary for ensuring the exact cause of pain as it can also be one of the symptoms of arthritis. It can also be the result of teeth-grinding habit.
Besides over-the-counter pain medication and eardrops, dentists recommend patients to opt for soft food and suggest wearing a mouthguard while sleeping.
TMJ muscles run along cheeks and jaw. They can cause pain that can spread to cheeks and along the sides of the head. So, even teeth grinding can be sufficient enough to tense up the jaw and cause a headache.
Differentiating between TMJ headaches and general ones can be difficult. Thus, physicians and dentists look for other signs. Headaches that are accompanied with jaw pain, tight facial muscles, changes in the bite, clocking noise in the jaw, and restricted jaw movement are signs for TMJ headaches.
Avoiding jaw movements that trigger pain and lifestyle changes can help in managing such pain.
4. Neck pain
Neck aches associated with temporomandibular joints disorders can vary from one patient to the other when it comes to timing and position.
Put simply; the temporomandibular joint inflammation can spread around blood vessels, muscles, and nerves around the jaw. Thus, a pain-like feeling caused due to the tightness of muscles can be felt in the tissues of the neck.
Neck aches triggered due to temporomandibular joints inflammation can become severe due to specific jaw movements. Neck ache occurs on the same side as the affected jaw. In such cases, physicians do not come across swelling or redness in any area of the neck.
5. Locked jaw
Put simply, the temporomandibular joint dislocation results in a locked jaw. As the jaw remains locked in an open position, the patient experiences a significant discomfort due to the inability to close the mouth.
Physicians and dentists correct the dislocation by moving back the condyle in the correct position. They use muscle relaxants, local anesthetics for minimizing the pain.
The upper jaw teeth should ideally slightly overlap the lower jaw ones. In the case of Malocclusion, the alignment becomes incorrect. The condition is one of the common symptoms of temporomandibular joints disorder. Besides uncomfortable bite, the patient may end up frequently biting the tongue and inner cheeks.
The dentist can recommend the use of dental braces, teeth removal or reshaping, or other treatments for managing jaw fractures.
7. Clicking sound
Issues in the temporomandibular joints can result in clicking sound and mild pain when the patient opens the mouth too wide while eating or yawning.
In patients suffering from TMD, the clicking sound can be accompanied by toothache, facial swelling, earache, and neck ache.
8. TMJ vertigo
Problems in the jaw can result in pressure on the inner ear causing dizziness or vertigo. The vestibular system sends wrong signals to the brain leading to vertigo-like feeling. Treating TMJD can automatically take care of vertigo and dizziness.
9. Taste and smell disorders
Research conducted by the University of Leipzig and the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg has proved the link between TMD pain and taste disturbances. The medical condition impacts the patient’s ability to smell and taste.
10. Eye pain
Issues with the temporomandibular joint can also impact the ocular nerves causing eye pain. It can prove to be unbearable. It impacts the eyesight’s sharpness, resulting in blurred vision. Careful diagnosis remains crucial as the medical condition can also be a result of other issues like allergies, nerve issues, eye infection, etc.
The temporomandibular joint disorders are often referred to as great imposters due to the wide range of symptoms that seems to be unrelated to the jaw. Thus, only an experienced physician or dentist can conduct a checkup and diagnose problems associated with the condition for offering proper treatment.
Wish to know more about temporomandibular joint pain causes? Are you searching for a trustworthy dental office that offers TMJ disorder treatment in Roswell? If so, you should fix an appointment at the TruCare Dentistry.