Recognizing the Symptoms of TMJ Pain
Headaches? Limited Jaw Opening? Facial Pain? Neck or Shoulder Pain?
Pain in the head and neck or dysfunction of the jaw is a very common conditions and could be easily resolved or might be very complex with a lot of different factors causing it. Jaw pain, commonly known as “TMJ”, but more correctly called TMD or Temporomandibular Disorder can be very frustrating to experience and treat, depending on the circumstances.
Symptoms of Temporomandibular Disorder or TMJ Pain
- Jaw joint pain
- Limited mouth opening
- Ear congestion
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty swallowing
- Loose teeth
- Sleep apnea
- Clenching or grinding
- Jaw joint clicking or popping
- Chewing difficulties
- Eye pain, Ear pain
- Postural problems, Neck, Back pain
- Tingling of the fingers
- Hot and cold sensitive teeth
- Nervousness or insomnia
- Facial pain
How can all of these symptoms be related to the teeth and bite?
The lower jaw has two joints or Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ’s). The TMJ has a condyle of head that rests on a depression or fossa right in front of both ears. If you put your fingers in front of your ears and open and close you will feel the joints moving down and forward as you open. The lower jaw is held in place by the joint and ligaments, and muscles and tendons.
If the bite is misaligned from acute trauma or long term “bad bite” the soft tissues around the joint can be compressed and inflamed.
This TMJ pain can cause symptoms of ear pain as the complex nerves and delicate muscles and can refer pain to the neck, shoulders and back. This is known as referred pain.
Relief for TMJ Facial Pain
The approach to treat TMJ pain at Health Style Dental is a Physiologic based approach. An important factor is whether this pain has flared up suddenly and is acute or if it is a long term chronic pain. You have two choices to consider – treat the pain and mask the symptoms OR treat the underlying factors causing the pain!