While it isn’t as well-known a condition as tooth decay or gum disease, TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder is a common problem for many patients. However, unlike more common conditions, its development and presence aren’t always obvious to those who experience it, even if the symptoms have become severe. TMJ disorder can mean different things to different patients. Yet, the only way to find lasting relief and restore your bite’s proper function is to have your condition diagnosed and treated as soon as possible with help from your dentist.
Your TMJs are the two large joints that control your jaw’s movement, and are located on either side of your face just below your ears. Your TMJs are among the most complex joints in your entire body, and because they power your bite function, they’re also the most frequently used joints. If one or both of your TMJs are damaged, or unable to function properly for some reason, the disorder can lead to a wide range of discomforts, including many that don’t directly affect your jaw.
When your TMJs are in pain, the discomfort can often be severe, but that isn’t the only form of discomfort that TMJ disorder can cause. For example, other common symptoms of TMJ disorder include popping and clicking sensations in your jaw when open and close your jaw, which signify the joints trying to accommodate the discrepancy in your bite. This can lead to greater difficulty biting and chewing comfortably, which can grow worse the longer your condition remains untreated. Because of the difficulty biting and chewing, other areas of your life can also be impacted, including the quality and consistency of your diet, and much more.
TMJ disorder is sometimes difficult to detect on your own because not all of its symptoms are obviously connected to your jaw health. For instance, you might not experience popping or clicking jaw joints, but suffer from chronic headaches and migraines that you aren’t able to stop or explain. You may also begin to experience tinnitus, or pain and ringing in your ears, due to the close vicinity of your TMJ joints. Keeping up with routine preventive visits with your dentist will give you the greatest chance at detecting TMJ disorder, even if the symptoms you experience seem unrelated.
Learn more about the importance of diagnosing and treating your TMJ disorder. To learn more, schedule an appointment by calling Yelena Popkova D.D.S. in Merrimack, NH, today at 603-595-9400. We also serve the residents of Nashua, Hudson, Manchester, Milford, and all surrounding communities.