The human body is wonderfully complex, but that’s why it can be hard to always understand what’s wrong when we’re experiencing discomfort.
If you’ve been experiencing jaw pain, headaches, or clicking when you chew, you could be having problems with the small joint connecting your jawbone to your skull. Problems with this temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can affect the rest of your body, sometimes in ways you might not expect. Here’s some information that can help you if you think you might be having problems with this joint.
What is TMJ/TMD?
As mentioned, the TMJ is a small ball joint—located just beside the ear—that the jaw pivots around. Problems in this joint’s functioning are referred to as “TMD” or temporomandibular joint disorders. These can be caused by several factors including trauma to the jaw, grinding your teeth, or enduring stress. Some evidence also suggests that spikes in estrogen–sometimes caused by pregnancy or new medications—can induce TMD.
What are the Symptoms of TMD?
Symptoms of TMD include:
- Jaw pain, on one or both sides of the face (there may also be pain behind the eyes or ears)
- Headaches or migraines
- Clicking, popping, or grinding of your jaw
- Tinnitus/Ringing ears
- Upper back or shoulder pain
- Tingling or numbness in the fingers
As you might have figured out from that list, your jaw misalignment affects more than just your face. If you have balance issues, it might not occur to you that that could be connected to grinding your teeth. However, the TMJ is located very close to the inner ear, so TMD can potentially lead to chronic dizziness.
How is TMD Treated?
If you think you might have some kind of TMJ-related disorder, the best thing to do is to talk to a dentist. Dentists aren’t just experts in your teeth; they understand the entire mouth, and jaw problems are well within their area of expertise. Your dentist will run a series of tests that can determine whether what you’re experiencing is a TMD. If it is, they’ll also be able to design a treatment plan with you that can let you know your next move. This may include a soft food diet, pain relievers, or physical therapy.
Your body is made up of an incredible number of moving pieces, all connected in ways that aren’t always obvious. But that means small issues can have effects that you might not expect.
About the Practice
At Kulick Dental Group we have five expert dentists on staff, so we’re qualified to take on any issue you might be having. Our kind and compassionate dental team will make you as comfortable as possible during your stay, and our dentists will give you their full attention when crafting your individualized care plan. If you have any questions about TMD, we can be reached at our website or by phone at (954) 341-0500.