Erie, Harborcreek and Millcreek, PA
The temporomandibular joint might be small, but any issue with it can have a significant impact on your entire quality of life. Temporomandibular joint disorder (or TMJ for short) refers to any dysfunction of the joint that affects the jaw. The consequences of TMJ can be felt throughout your body, in the form of intense and even debilitating pain in the face, neck, and even all the way down your spine.
If you have TMJ, professional diagnosis and treatment is the only way to resolve the issue. Otherwise, the disorder only will get worse.
If you think you or someone you love suffers from TMJ, then identifying the problem as soon as possible is crucial.
TMJ is a complicated disorder that might manifest in any one of a variety of ways.
That said, here are some of the most common symptoms reported by TMJ sufferers:
- Jaw pain
- A clicking or popping sound that occurs when you open and close your jaw
- Locked jaw, or one with limited range of motion
- Difficulty chewing
- Teeth grinding, which also is known as bruxism
- Tooth pain, especially one that migrates to different spots in the mouth
- Teeth that become loose, worn, chipped and cracked
- Headaches, including migraines or headaches of migraine-like intensity
- Pressure or pain emanating behind or below one eye
- Facial pain or tension
- Tinnitus, also known as ringing in the ears
- Pain or tension in the neck
- Shoulder pain or back pain
- Lack of sensation, tingling, or numbness in the extremities
- Malocclusion, also known as “bad bite” or a misaligned bite
- Poor posture
- Dizziness or vertigo
The most common symptom of TMJ is pain. Why does this occur? The trigeminal nerve runs through the temporomandibular joint. In addition to being responsible for many involuntary functions that regulate the safety and comfort of the brain, the trigeminal nerve also transmits more sensory information to the brain than any other neural pathway—even the spinal cord itself. It is because of the proximity of the trigeminal nerve that TMJ patients often report suffering from migraines, or complains that standard migraine treatments and medications only alter the intensity of the headaches but not their frequency.
Do I have TMJ?
TMJ can affect any individual in any walk of life. However, statistics indicate that more women than men suffer from the disorder, and it is most prevalent among people between the ages of 20 and 40 years old.
Many other conditions cause symptoms that are similar to TMJ—such as tooth decay, sinus infections, arthritis, and gum disease. A neuromuscular dentist is the best-trained medical professional to diagnose TMJ, and treat the disorder. Focusing their practice on finding or regaining the ideal alignment of your bite and jaw, a neuromuscular dentist has extensive post-graduate training that helps to detect TMJ and differentiate it from any other disorders or issues that produce similar symptoms.
At Laser Dentistry of Erie, LLC, Dr. Albert Starr possesses the training and experience to diagnose TMJ and provide relief for patients who are suffering from the disorder through the use of oral appliance therapy. If you think you have TMJ, do not hesitate! Seek a professional evaluation as soon as possible, by contacting our office at (814) 825-2615 to schedule a consultation.
Laser Dentistry of Erie, LLC, is proud to serve patients located in Erie, PA, and the surrounding areas.