When your body is in pain, it’s sending you a message that something is wrong. We expect some aches and pains after an intense workout or a brief illness, but when the pain is chronic and affects your ability to enjoy life, it’s time to take action. Sometimes, patients I treat will admit that they’ve experienced such pain in their jaws and ignored the symptoms for years. This blows my mind. Jaw pain is not normal and could be a sign of a painful and potentially debilitating disorder that — SPOILER ALERT — I can treat. What is it and when can we get started?
TMJ or TMD?
Everyone has a temporomandibular joint — or TMJ — where their lower and upper jaws meet. In many people, this joint functions normally and without pain, but in people who have temporomandibular joint disorder — or TMD — the pain and inflammation can be excruciating. What’s worse is that TMJ often goes undiagnosed because some of the symptoms seem to have nothing to do with your jaw, such as:
- Tinnitus (ringing of the ears)
- Neck, shoulder, and back pain
- Facial swelling
Other symptoms, such as jaw pain, lock jaw, and clicking or popping noises when you move your mouth are more obvious, but each case is different.
TMD can be caused by a number of things, including:
- Jaw or facial trauma caused by accident or injury
- Clenching and grinding of the teeth, also known as bruxism
- Misalignments of the teeth or jaw
Whatever the cause, I can help you find a treatment. Because I’ve completed extensive training with the TMJ & Sleep Therapy International Center, I am able to evaluate your facial structure, pain level, and list of symptoms to determine which method will work best for you. Whether we decide on an oral appliance or orthodontic treatment, you will once again be able to speak, eat, and yawn without pain.
So why tolerate pain when a solution is right at your fingertips? When you’re ready to enjoy the quality of life you deserve, contact my office to schedule an appointment for a TMJ evaluation. I look forward to seeing you.