Do you notice a clicking or popping noise when you open and close your jaw? Is the sound accompanied by pain and difficult movement? TMJ disorder, an inclusive term for conditions that affect your jaw’s joints and muscles, can often be more subtle than a toothache. Nevertheless, it often generates varying levels of jaw pain along with a wide variety of other symptoms. Jaw pain can warn you of the possibility of TMJ disorder, and if ignored, the dysfunction and discomfort may only grow worse.
How Your Jaw is Built
The secret to your jaw’s unique function and range of movement are the joints that connect your mandible to your skull. Known as the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), they’re located just in front of each ear, and the joints move in unison as you open and close your mouth. The pressure from your bite should be evenly distributed along the entire joint, reducing the stress each TMJ experiences.
What is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorders are conditions that arise when your TMJs are damaged, inflamed, misaligned, or exhausted from excessive amounts of pressure. If the joint’s disk is dislocated, then your jaw’s bones can scrape together; if the joints are misaligned, your jaw can exhaust itself trying to keep your mouth straight; if the tissues are inflamed, the swelling can lead to bone and cartilage deterioration. TMJ disorders disturb the jaw’s nerve, the largest of your 12 cranial nerve groups, leading to numerous different symptoms.
Common indications of TMJ disorder, aside from persistent jaw pain, may include;
- Popping/clicking noises when your jaw moves
- Chronic headaches and/or migraines
- Frequent earaches and tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Habitual teeth-grinding
There’s a Treatment for That
Learning that your chronic discomfort is related to your jaw joints can make finding relief possible, but requires a professional assessment and accurate diagnosis. Because TMJ disorder can be caused by a number of different issues, treatment differs from patient to patient and revolves around the underlying condition that led to TMJ damage. If you suffer from recurring jaw pain, seemingly-inexplicable headaches, or other aches and pains, then visit Dr. Maria and Dr. Thanasi Loukas as soon as possible.
About Your Park Ridge Dentists:
Dr. Maria and Dr. Thanasi Loukas are highly-skilled restorative, cosmetic, and implant dentists serving the Park Ridge and surrounding Chicago communities. To schedule an appointment, call Loukas General Dentistry today at (847) 696-1919