Some people simply deal with the discomfort, not sure if they should complain or seek treatment for it. Others, however, might not be able to ignore the pain of TMJ disorder, which affects your temporomandibular joints (TMJs) and your jaw’s ability to function properly.
TMJs, which are the two large joints in front of each ear, are located close to your largest craniofacial nerve group, known as the trigeminal nerves. When the joints are swollen, dislocated, or out of alignment, they aggravate the nerve, making TMJ disorder the cause of chronic headaches, jaw pain, and a host of other symptoms ranging from mild to severe.
What Else Hurts?
Your TMJs are essential to your jaw’s movement; therefore, jaw pain and difficulty moving your jaw are common symptoms of TMJ disorder. Yet, the dysfunction can also lead to a number of seemingly-unrelated conditions that differ between patients, and an accurate diagnosis might not always be simple. If you suffer from jaw pain and one or more of the following, then we advise speaking with your dentist about TMJ disorder during your next appointment;
- Popping sounds when you open and close your jaw
- Sore, tender facial and jaw muscles
- Lock-jaw (the temporary inability to open or close your mouth)
- Frequent, unconscious teeth-grinding (bruxism)
- Chronic headaches and migraines
- Pain and/or ringing in one or both ears (tinnitus)
Stand Up to TMJ Pain with These Tips
If you suffer from TMJ disorder, then finding lasting relief may require professional dental treatment. Often, the dysfunction can be remedied with an oral appliance that keeps your jaw comfortable and straight while you sleep. Physical therapy may also help you train your jaw to function properly again, allowing your TMJs to heal and alleviating the discomfort.