I am sure you’ve heard the acronym “TMJ” before. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joints. These are the joints and jaw muscles that make it possible to open and close your mouth. What you may not know is that more than 10 million people across the country suffer from a TMJ disorder (TMD) and if left untreated, TMD can lead to chronic headaches, neck pain, and migraines.
One of the first signs of TMJ problems is noise when opening or closing your mouth. In some people the noise is very quiet and hard to hear, in others, it is loud enough to hear across the dinner table. The reason the jaw is making noise is that the ligament between two bones is dislocating and popping on or off the jawbone. This is not normal or healthy! Occasionally, the jaw can become stuck or locked when the ligament dislocates between two bones completely blocking the jaw from fully closing or opening.
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We often see patients who have no idea they suffer from TMD and have already been to various physicians seeking relief from their symptoms. It’s challenging to figure out what doctor is best to see because the migraines, headaches, ear pain, ringing in the ear, dizziness, and eye pain can be coming from different parts of the head and neck. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you might have TMD:
- Headaches (daily, recurrent, nightly)
- Ear pain, fullness, congestion, wooshing
- Jaw pain, clicking, popping, crunching, locking
- Teeth clenching, grinding, gnashing
- Face pain, numbness, tingling, shocking
- Eye pain
- Neck pain
- Base of skull pain
- Pain when chewing
- Throat pain
- Shoulder pain
- Back pain
- Difficulty opening mouth
- Nasal and Sinus congestion
- Muscle twitching
- Bite feels off or different than before
- Numbness in hands or arms
TMJ issues are progressive; they continue to get worse over time and, if left untreated, can result in a permanent change in the bite and ability to chew. Therefore, don’t delay in requesting an examination for a proper diagnosis. Through physical examination, range of motion, joint sounds/vibrations, joint hard tissue images, patient history and interview, we can help get you a proper diagnosis and begin treatment so you can get on with your life! Treatment may include, a custom-made oral appliance, cold-laser therapy, botox, and a multi-discipline referral coordination.
At Aesthetic Dentistry of Bernardsville, we are passionate about providing you with the quality dental care that you deserve. We want you to live your best life, free from pain, so you can be proud to smile again!