What do uneven tooth wear, dizziness, and neck pain all have in common? All three are symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder—even though they are so different. Also known as TMJ disorder or TMD, this ailment can lead to muscular and nerve-related issues that cascade throughout the body. Your neuromuscular dentists Drs. Douglas Campbell and David Schmidt have the specialized training needed to identify a case of TMJ disorder. But, we want you to be aware of the symptoms.
Get the facts on TMJ disorder
Any problem that affects the function or alignment of the temporomandibular joint qualifies as TMJ disorder. This small, round joint is located on either side of the head and connects the lower jaw to the skull. It works every time your jaws open and close. Considering how this motion is crucial to eating and speaking, you can see how any dysfunction in the temporomandibular joint could lead to serious problems.
TMJ disorder affects about 10 million Americans. This is only an estimate because a significant percentage of cases remain undiagnosed. Accurately identifying TMJ disorder can be a true diagnostic challenge for many general practitioners. For example, patients with TMJ disorder may experience painful headaches that occur regularly and can be misidentified as migraines. If your headaches are being caused by TMJ disorder, however, no migraine remedy will do anything to alleviate how often the headaches occur.
What symptom is most common among patients with TMJ disorder?
The answer is pain. This pain could occur often enough to be chronic and severe enough to be debilitating, meaning it impedes your ability to function daily.
If you have TMJ disorder, pain could manifest at various other locations in your body. Pain in the jaws or teeth is most common, but it also might result in headaches, as mentioned, seemingly random facial pain, or even pain emanating from the neck, and back.
In many cases, TMJ disorder causes pain because the temporomandibular joint is located very close to the trigeminal nerve. When TMJ disorder develops, one of the first consequences is that the adjacent musculature and nerves become compressed or aggravated, sending signals of pain throughout the head and neck. Without treatment, pain eventually will spread to the back, arms, or fingers.
Learn about the symptoms of TMJ disorder
Because the temporomandibular joint controls jaw function, it should be no surprise that many symptoms of TMJ disorder are jaw-related, such as:
- Hearing clicking or popping as your jaws open and close
- Experiencing a limited range of motion in the jaws or even lockjaw
- Jaw pain
- Bruxism, the clinical term for grinding and/or clenching your teeth
- Heightened tooth sensitivity, especially to hot and cold temperatures
- Difficulty chewing
- Digestive issues
- Stuffy or ringing ears
- Dizziness or feelings of vertigo
- Problems speaking
- Posture problems
- Abnormal or uneven tooth wear
- Teeth becoming chipped, cracked or starting to shift
- Pressure or pain from behind or underneath one eye
- Tingling, numbness, or other lack of sensation in your extremities
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
TMJ Relief in Lake Forest
Diagnosing TMJ disorder is simple when you choose a qualified neuromuscular dentist. Practitioners of this specialty are experts in the alignment of the bite and jaw, giving them the knowledge necessary to identify and treat your TMJ disorder. Both of the dentists at Lake Forest Smiles, Drs. Douglas Campbell and David Schmidt, have studied neuromuscular dentistry at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies and the Dawson Academy. Stop living with untreated TMJ disorder. Get relief. Call our office at (847) 234-4800 to schedule your consultation if you are in the areas of Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, or Lincolnshire in Illinois.