Understanding Your TMJ Disorder Symptoms
TMJ disorder (TMD) develops when the jaw joints are damaged or when the nearby muscles are inflamed. This inflammation can cause a host of symptoms, which can dramatically affect your overall physical wellness and your day-to-day activities. Jaw pain and hindered jaw movement are the most common TMD symptoms. You could also suffer from chronic headaches, ear pain, tinnitus, and several other side effects. Dr. Melina Morrison can alleviate TMJ disorder symptoms with a variety of treatment methods at her Rockwall, TX, dental practice. At Rockwall Family Dentistry, we offer several types of oral appliances to redistribute pressure on your joints. We also utilize advanced TruDenta® therapy to accurately diagnose TMD and create customized treatment plans.
Jaw pain is one of the most obvious indications of TMD. This discomfort can take several different forms. Your pain will depend on the severity of inflammation, type of damage you have sustained, and the force of your bite. In some cases, you may have intermittent pain that can grow worse when you bite and chew. Some patients experience almost constant discomfort.
Whether you are experiencing headaches, jaw pain, hindered jaw movement, or another side effect, these symptoms can be greatly improved through our wide range of treatments.
Also, your pain could be localized or it could radiate across your lower face and into your neck, shoulders, and upper back. Inflammation can also affect the function of your jaw joints, making them very stiff. In some cases, the stiffness may be so severe that you are unable to open or close your mouth fully. Even in less serious instances, you may find it difficult to eat certain foods.
Some patients who suffer from chronic headaches never think to associate them with jaw health. However, soreness in the jaw can spread to the surrounding areas. Therefore, headaches are one of the most common symptoms of TMD. In fact, you could suffer from TMD-related headaches without actually developing any jaw pain. While migraine medications may provide temporary respite, they will merely cover up the symptoms. For this reason, it is important to visit our TMJ specialist to address the root cause of the problem and find pain relief.
Ear Pain and Tinnitus
The nerves to your ears run along your jaw joints. Therefore, just as inflammation can quickly spread to other muscles in your head, it can also affect your ears. You may experience a dull, throbbing ache. Alternatively, you could have sharp, stabbing pains in your ears, particularly when you are biting or chewing. You could also develop tinnitus, or ringing in your ears. In the most serious cases, this symptom could dramatically affect your hearing. Fortunately, TMD-related tinnitus is not permanent, and appropriate jaw therapy can typically restore your hearing.
Other TMJ Disorder Symptoms
In addition to the symptoms above, you could experience several other effects of TMD.
- Irritability: Constant pain can greatly affect your mood.
- Chronic exhaustion: TMD and sleep apnea often go hand-in-hand. Therefore, while fatigue is not a direct symptom of TMJ disorder, it may help us diagnose the condition.
- Dental damage: If your TMD is the result of chronic teeth grinding, you may notice significant enamel erosion, small cracks in your teeth, and structural damage.
- Clicking in your jaw: TMD can sometimes develop if the soft discs inside your joints slip out of position, causing the bones to rub against one another. As a result, you may hear a popping or clicking sound when you open and close your mouth.
Alleviate Your Pain Today
Whether you are experiencing headaches, jaw pain, hindered jaw movement, or another side effect, these symptoms can be greatly improved through our wide range of treatments. Contact Rockwall Family Dentistry today to discuss your symptoms and begin designing a custom TMD treatment plan.