It’s still National TMJ Awareness Month, and we’re keeping the ball rolling by talking about your jaw; specifically, the strange things it might be doing that could be TMJ-related.
Popping and clicking in your jaw can be uncomfortable and feel a little strange. Even if you’re not in great pain, any abnormalities should always be evaluated by a professional like your Woodlands dentist.
Before we go any further with this topic, let’s take a quick refresher course on what TMJ and TMD really are. Both of them break down like this:
– TMJ = Temporomandibular Joints – Rub your jaw area at the base of your ears and say hello to your TMJ. This is where your jaw and your skull connect. Believe it or not, when these joints aren’t working as they should be, they can throw so much out of alignment in your mouth, head, and body.
– TMD = Temporomandibular Disorder or Dysfunction – This is the dental term we use to describe all of your symptoms caused by the muscles you use for chewing, your bite, and jaw joints that aren’t able to work together correctly.
Understanding the Symptoms
Popping and clicking in your jaw (with or without pain) should never be ignored. It could mean your bite is off balance. When your jaw joints aren’t functioning the way they should be, it can lead to a chain reaction of issues elsewhere in your body. It seems strange, but your Woodlands dentist can tell you it’s 100 percent true!
There are plenty of other symptoms too! Take a look at this list and determine what (if any) affect you:
– Pain when you open and close your mouth
– Locking or limited movement when you open your mouth
– Muscle spasms
– Pain behind your eyes
– Earaches or ringing (tinnitus)
– Clenching or grinding of your teeth
– Worn, loose, or broken teeth
– Neck, shoulder, and back pain
– Numbness or tingling in your fingers
Does anything or feel familiar to you? Every single one of these symptoms can be deceiving to both the patients living with them and the doctors trying to fix them. This is why TMJ issues, or TMD, often goes misdiagnosed or completely un-diagnosed.
The primary problem can be in the joints themselves, the muscles of the face and jaw, the bite (how the teeth fit and work for chewing), or a combination of these. Because the symptoms masquerade as so many other conditions, many people travel from doctor to doctor in search of relief. It is estimated that as many as 10-15% of Americans suffer from one or more of these symptoms. Many never think of calling their Woodlands dentist trained in TMD solutions to get the help they deserve finally!
It’s Time to Talk to Us
If you’ve had unexplained noises coming from your jaw or if you’re managing unexplained pain elsewhere in your body, consider seeing a trained professional like our Woodlands teams of dentists. They have extensive training in all things TMD and can finally provide the relief you’ve been searching for.
If you or someone in your family is having jaw problems or dealing with any of the other issues we talked about today, we hope you’ll contact The Woodlands Dental Group to get the help you deserve. Relief could be just a phone call away!