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Pain When you Chew Gum could be sign of Something Serious


Are you experiencing jaw pain when completing simple exercises of your mouth, like chewing gum? Jaw pain may even make it difficult to complete normal daily tasks like conversing and eating. Recurring jaw pain could likely be a symptom of an underlying oral condition or disease: sinus issues, ear problems … or a condition called temporomandibular joint disorder. Read on to learn more.

What is temporomandibular joint disorder?

Temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ disorder or TMD, affects millions of people. It refers to any condition that affects the function of the temporomandibular joint, a small, round joint that connects your jaw to your skull on each side of your head. Despite being very small, if the joint is put into a state of dysfunction, it can impact your oral health significantly and send you into unbearable daily pain while also inhibiting your ability to properly function.

The signs of TMJ disorder can vary. It may begin as hearing a popping or clicking noise as your jaws open and close. You also may experience pain in your jaw joints, or experience frequent headaches. If left untreated, TMJ disorder has a cascading effect, as the dysfunction and pain radiate out from your jaw joints, potentially affecting your teeth, mouth, neck and even your extremities.

Imagining how such a small joint in the jaw can affect your entire overall health can be hard, but even the slightest imbalance in the body creates disruption. Your jaw also includes an abundance of nerves, blood vessels, cartilage and tendons. Just like if you stretched the joint in your knee, when there is an injury in your jaw joints, inflammation and pain will occur. The prominent nerve located in the jaw runs from the jaw joints to the head and then down the spinal cord, explaining how this tiny injury can affect multiple other parts of the body.

The diagnosis mystery of TMJ disorder

The symptoms of TMJ disorder can vary widely from person to person, which is why this condition is so often misdiagnosed. Many general practitioners can struggle to correctly identify the disorder because of the diagnostic challenge. Two things are true. First, if the dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint is not addressed, someone with the disorder will never find relief for their symptoms. Second, you should seek the care of a neuromuscular dentist if you think you suffer from TMJ disorder.

Neuromuscular dentistry in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire, Illinois

A neuromuscular dentist undergoes rigorous training and education that is taught on a post-graduate level, after standard dental school. This training focuses on helping patients find or restore the proper alignment of their bite and jaws. It also makes a neuromuscular dentist the ideal medical professional to diagnose and treat someone suffering from TMJ disorder.

Drs. Douglas Campbell and David Schmidt at Lake Forest Smiles have undergone extensive post-graduate education in neuromuscular dentistry to become experts in diagnosing and treating TMJ disorder.  As neuromuscular dentists, Drs. Campbell and Schmidt understand how the teeth, jaw joints and muscles are an interwoven system that requires proper balance to function well. Our doctors can help you develop a treatment plan to restore the alignment of your jaw and bite, ridding you of chronic pain caused by the imbalance.

If you are experiencing chronic jaw pain and suspect you may have TMJ disorder, you can’t afford to wait. Your symptoms will not go away without proper treatment. In fact, over time, they only will become worse. Visit us online or call us at (847) 234-4800 to schedule an appointment today.

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