The temporomandibular joint and the surrounding muscles are what connects your jaw to the rest of your skull. This important joint makes it possible for you to chew and talk, and when problems develop with this joint, they are typically referred to as TMJ disorders.
TMJ disorders can range in severity from mild discomfort to severe pain which can interfere with simple activities such as eating and speaking. The good news is that there are various forms of TMJ therapy which can help you dramatically minimize these symptoms.
How do you know if you should seek out TMJ therapy?
TMJ disorders can be difficult to recognize at first because many of their symptoms can mimic other types of health problems. But the earlier you can get a diagnosis from a qualified dentist, the earlier you can receive TMJ therapy and the less likelihood there is of symptoms becoming more severe.
The following are some of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorders.
- Frequent and persistent headaches – particularly around the temples and the eyes.
- Ringing or discomfort in the ears (tinnitus).
- Difficulty hearing.
- Pain in the neck and shoulders that you cannot explain or attribute to other causes.
- Problems with chewing or moving the jaw.
- A clicking or popping sound when you open or close your mouth.
- A feeling of heaviness in the face.
- Swelling located on one side of the face.
- Jaw getting stuck and difficulty opening or closing the jaw.
- Being unable to open the jaw very wide.
- Toothaches which cannot be attributed to other dental problems.
When TMJ disorders are left untreated, they can lead to a number of other health problems including poor nutrition due to not being able to eat normally.
To examine diagnose whether you have a TMJ disorder, your dentist will examine and listen to your jaw. If a problem is suspected, you may require dental X-rays to examine the jaw or a CT scan or MRI to examine soft tissues.
The type of TMJ therapy that you dentist will recommend will of course depend on the severity of your condition, but treatments can include pain medication, oral splints and mouth guards as well as physical therapy. In extreme situations, surgery may also be recommended.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above and believe that TMJ disorders may be to blame, then you should contact Sapphire Dental today to make an appointment with one of our dentists.