You could have a TMJ disorder and not know. Then again, you could have a TMJ disorder and just not know what to do about it.
In either situation, you can come to our dentist office in Tulsa, OK, for help. We offer TMJ treatments that have helped numerous patients start living without pain again.
Today, we want to help you identify four possible signs of a TMJ problem. We also want to discuss some of the causes of TMJ disorders, and what Masterpiece Smiles can do about it.
4 Signs That You May Have A TMJ Disorder
More than likely, you will have some TMJ problems during your life. Whether or not this rises to the level of a TMJ disorder will depend on how frequently these symptoms occur or how intense they are.
□ 1. Pain in your face or jaw
TMJ disorders can affect one or both of your temporomandibular joints. These are the joints on each side of your face that allow you to open and close your mouth.
Pain can happen because of problems with the joint itself or problems affecting the muscles or ligaments around these joints.
These can be lingering pains or pains that come and go at different times. Pay particular attention if you notice these pains when you wake up in the morning or after you have eaten.
□ 2. Jaw movement issues
TMJ issues can interfere with the function of your mouth as well. When you have a TMJ disorder, you may not be able to completely open or close your mouth. This can affect how you eat and speak.
At other times, you may find that you are unable to move your jaw at all.
A related matter may be a clicking or popping sensation when you open and close your jaw. At times, this can be a clue that something may not be lined up correctly.
□ 3. Frequent headaches and earaches
If you want to find your temporomandibular joints, just put a couple fingers near your ears. Then, open and close your mouth. You will be able to feel the joint moving.
Knowing exactly where that joint is will help you understand why earaches and headaches could be related to an untreated TMJ problem.
If these pains occur when you have been feeling stressed or if you wake up more than you would like with an earache or a headache, that could be a clue about the cause of your TMJ disorder.
□ 4. Pains in your neck, upper back, and shoulder
Our bodies are interconnected systems that work together. We won’t go through a full anatomy lesson, but the muscles in your face are connected to muscles in your neck, which connect to muscles in your back and shoulders.
That’s why a problem in your jaw can lead to pains in other areas that are relatively nearby.
Causes Of TMJ Disorders
TMJ disorders aren’t always straightforward. Likewise, the reasons people have TMJ problems can vary.
Teeth grinding is one of the most common causes of TMJ problems. The grinding can cause you to put excessive pressure on your TMJ, in addition to the fact that it can wear down your teeth.
If you do this in your sleep, you may be more likely to experience TMJ symptoms in the morning.
Since TMJ are joints, they can be affected by arthritis, too. Illnesses and injuries can play a role, and so can the alignment of your teeth, in some instances.
And it’s certainly possible that you have multiple factors contributing to your jaw problems.
Treating TMJ Disorders
At Masterpiece Smiles, we can examine your teeth and mouth to determine if teeth grinding is affecting your TMJ.
If so, we can design a special mouthguard that you can wear while you sleep. This will prevent your rows of teeth from grinding into one another by acting as a barrier between them.
More than that, the mouthguard also can help retrain your jaw to rest in a more relaxed position. It may take some time to adjust to sleeping with a mouthguard, but when you do, you may start to understand just how valuable this can be.
In some cases, combining a mouthguard with some form of physical therapy or counseling (to help manage stress) can be even more effective.
Time To Smile Again
Stop living with the pains created by an untreated TMJ disorder. Make plans to talk to Dr. Jan Cobble, our dentist in Tulsa, OK. Call 918-921-7926 or contact us online.