Whenever you chew your food, talk, sing, or even let out a yawn, you’re benefiting from the work of your temporomandibular joint. Located at the point where your jaw meets your skull, this hinge plays an integral part in your overall health.
When this joint stops absorbing shock the way it should, this can lead to a painful jaw condition called TMJ. In the bigger picture, TMJ specialist Alireza Panahpour, DDS of The Systemic Dentist in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, warns that chronic TMJ can lead to long-term health problems.
Fortunately, TMJ doesn’t need to cause you severe pain or take over your life when diagnosed and treated correctly. Learn the top 6 symptoms of TMJ from Dr. Panahpour and the treatment options that bring you relief.
Usually, your temporomandibular joint absorbs the shock in your jaw with cartilage and discs. When they malfunction or wear down, you can develop TMJ, which starts with pain and tension in your jaw.
TMJ has several different causes, but one of the most common reasons people develop TMJ is teeth grinding. You’re also at higher risk of TMJ if you have rheumatoid arthritis, a history of jaw injury, or some connective tissue diseases.
Without treatment, long-term TMJ can cause your bite to misalign, cervical spine and posture problems, chronic pain, and airway restriction.
6 common TMJ symptoms
If you’re experiencing any of these common symptoms of TMJ, make an appointment with Dr. Panahpour for an evaluation and diagnosis.
1. Pain in your jaw and the surrounding areas
The most common and initial symptoms of TMJ are pain or tenderness in your jaw and TMJ joint. You might also experience pain in other nearby areas of your body, including your neck, face, ear, and shoulders.
2. A locking jaw
TMJ can cause your jaw to become tight and stiff. This makes your jaw joint lock when it’s either open or closed, which can make it challenging to open and close your mouth.
3. Clicking, popping, grinding, or grating when you move your jaw
You might hear noises or feel sensations of your jaw clicking, popping, grinding, or grating when you open or close it. These noises won’t necessarily cause pain.
4. Problems chewing
TMJ often makes it more difficult or uncomfortable to chew your food. You might also experience increased pain while chewing.
5. Headaches and earaches
TMJ makes the muscles surrounding your joint tense up, which can cause TMJ-associated headaches and earaches. You might even experience dizziness or ringing in your years.
6. Changes to your bite
You can experience temporary or permanent changes to the way your front and bottom teeth align when you have TMJ. You might start to feel like your teeth no longer fit together properly when you eat or talk.
Treatment options for TMJ
With a systemic, personalized treatment routine that considers your overall oral and physical health, Dr. Panahpour treats the cause and symptoms of your TMJ. If your TMJ is caused by an underlying condition such as arthritis or bruxism, this includes addressing these factors.
Dr. Panahpour’s treatment for TMJ uses a holistic approach that includes dentistry, chiropractic care, nutrition, and cranial orthopedics. Your treatment plan might include wearing a custom-made stabilization splint, pain medication, muscle relaxants, physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, and a short-term soft food diet.
To relieve your TMJ symptoms using a systemic process, call (310) 986-6001 to make your appointment at The Systemic Dentist.