Albertville and Gadsden, Alabama
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder occurs when the jaw is misaligned. In some cases, jaw misalignment can be attributed to missing, crooked, broken, or chipped teeth. For others, TMJ disorder is associated with previous injuries or diseases. Sometimes, even overcrowded teeth or a misaligned bite can cause the jaw to be out of alignment, even when all teeth are present. Even the slightest misalignment can cause pain and discomfort in the jaw joint, resulting in TMJ disorder. How can you tell if you have TMJ disorder? Although a dentist can certainly determine whether or not you have TMJ disorder, there are also a series of questions you can ask yourself as a preliminary test.
Do you have pain in your jaw joints?
The most common symptom of TMJ disorder is pain or discomfort in the jaw joint. This pain can be consistent or only present only when you bite or chew.
Video courtesy of Marina Del Rey Dentist, Dr. Scott Tamura
Do you hear noises, such as popping or clicking sounds, when you open and close your jaw?
When the jaw is misaligned, popping or clicking sounds may occur when you talk or open and close your mouth, specifically while chewing. These sounds cannot only be heard by you but may even be heard by people sitting close to you.
When did you first experience pain or the sound of noises in your jaw?
Often TMJ disorder is a result of an injury, disease, or aging. By noting the onset of your symptoms, the dentist is more likely able to determine the cause of your TMJ disorder.
Have you had any previous TMJ surgeries?
If so, it may be possible that your bite has changed. This information also provides background as to previous TMJ treatments you may have had.
Do you experience any headaches?
If so, how often do you experience headaches? TMJ disorder often results in headaches or even migraines. The reason for this symptom is because a major never, the trigeminal nerve, connects from the jaw, through the joint, and into the head. Therefore, if the nerve is compromised by a misaligned jaw, headaches or migraines are likely to occur.
Do you have pain elsewhere?
Since the trigeminal nerve connects to the brain and then to the spinal column, it is also likely that you may experience pain in the neck, shoulders, or back. If you experience pain in these areas, you should discuss it with the dentist.
Do you clench or grind your teeth at night?
Sometimes, people who have a seemingly perfect bite may still experience TMJ disorder. If you clench or grind your teeth at night, you are putting strain and fatigue on the jaw joints. You may not even be aware you are clenching or grinding your teeth at night. Therefore, if you wake up with a headache or sore jaw, this could be an indication that you clench or grind your teeth while you sleep.
Do you experience earaches or tinnitus (ringing in the ears)?
The trigeminal nerve runs close to the ears, which could cause earaches or ringing in the ears. If you experience earaches often or tinnitus that does not seem to relate to another health condition, your symptoms may be a result of TMJ disorder.
Do you ever experience lightheadedness or dizziness?
Since TMJ disorder directly affects the trigeminal nerve, it is likely you will not only experience headaches but lightheadedness or dizziness also.
Do you suffer from depression?
You may wonder how depression can be associated with TMJ disorder. The fact is severe cases of TMJ disorder that is untreated can interfere with one’s life to the point they begin to lose interest in activities that once brought them joy. The pain and other symptoms associated with TMJ disorder can be life altering for some.
Do you have issues with other joints in your body?
This could be an indicator of another disease that could be causing your TMJ disorder. For instance, various forms of arthritis or other debilitating diseases could also affect the jaw joint.
If you experience any symptoms associated with TMJ disorder, do not suffer in silence. There is hope! Repositioning the jaw can often relieve TMJ disorder, and the dentist can help. At Wall Street Dentistry, we specialize in diagnosing and treating TMJ disorder. Treatment for TMJ disorder will vary for each patient and ranges from the use of a simple device, use of medication, orthodontic treatment, or even surgery for severe cases. For a TMJ evaluation, contact Wall Street Dentistry. We gladly welcome patients from the Albertville, Boaz, and Guntersville, AL areas.