TMJ Symptoms Unveiled: Are You Suffering in Silence?
Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, is an often painful condition affecting the joint at which the upper and lower jaw meet. Patients suffering from TMJ may experience a wide range of apparently unrelated symptoms, but most sufferers find their pain dramatically reduced after diagnosis and treatment. To learn more about TMJ and your treatment options, please contact Divine Smiles today at (781) 396-8558 to schedule your consultation or make an appointment online.
Know the TMJ Symptoms
TMJ is an umbrella term for neuromuscular disorders that affect the temporomandibular joint. Often related to problems with a patient’s bite, TMJ disorders can cause diverse symptoms in your jaw and throughout your body. Some of the most common TMJ symptoms include:
The TMJ joint is a complex one that includes bi-directional movement (hinge plus sliding) aided by cartilage and a small disk. TMJ can result from problems with any of these elements, which are damaged by improper bite mechanics.
Jaw pain is usually the first symptom people notice when they develop TMJ disorder. Most of us will experience jaw pain now and then, but if you’re experiencing it for 7-10 days or longer, you should visit your Woburn and Winchester TMJ dentist for an evaluation. While some jaw pain might be situational, such as with an injury or a particularly stressful day, your pain can become chronic when you develop unhealthy habits from prolonged stress. Your joint may be slipping out of place due to a structural problem or inflammation pushing on your joint. In this case, you’ll likely hear clicking and popping sounds when you open and close your mouth because the joint is slipping in and out of place. Treating your TMJ disorder when the problem is small can help you avoid more significant problems in the future, such as bone degeneration.
Your pain may stem from a pinched nerve, in which case you’ll likely also feel tingling in your fingers and headaches. The trigeminal nerve runs through your jaw joint and is responsible for your jaw movement and all the feeling in your head. So why are you experiencing finger tingling? Because your entire body is an interconnected system. Decreased blood flow from a pinched nerve can eventually cause tingling. If you experience prolonged jaw pain, your Woburn and Winchester TMJ dentist can help. Call (781) 396-8558 or make an appointment online
Unusual TMJ Symptoms
Do neck, back, and shoulder pain seem like odd TMJ symptoms? Symptoms that aren’t localized to the point of origin can be tricky to diagnose, but these can indicate advanced TMJ disorder when coupled with other symptoms. Your jaw has a powerful muscle, and it’s connected to the muscles in your neck, which connect to your shoulders and back. The further you feel the pain from your TMJ, the more likely your disorder is severe. Many people who suffer TMJ symptoms feel a pulling that makes perfect sense. These muscles feel the misalignment of your jaw joint and attempt to pull it back into place. This causes them to be in a state of contraction constantly and will eventually be painful.
Chronic headaches, including migraines, cluster headaches, and tension headaches, can all have a root cause in TMJ. The jaw is complex, with a network of muscles, nerves, tissue, and bone linked to every area of your face – and running through all this is the trigeminal nerve, which is the longest nerve in your body. Strain caused by a misaligned jaw can cause tension in the muscles and put pressure on the trigeminal nerve, which in turn can cause chronic headaches. If you have been suffering from headaches with no relief, it may be due to a misaligned jaw. TMJ is a fairly common cause of headaches that many people unfortunately overlook. If your headaches are causing you constant pain and discomfort, don’t hesitate to call Woburn and Winchester dentist Dr. Clancy for a consultation. He will examine your jaw and determine if TMJ is a possible culprit and how we can fix it.
The Connection to TMJ Treatment
If you suffer from migraines, we don’t need to tell you how debilitating they are. Unlike other headaches, they’re a neurological phenomenon that doctors don’t have fully figured out. We know that TMJ treatment can relieve your migraines if they stem from a misaligned joint. Researchers and doctors believe that the nerve running through your trigeminal joint is responsible for migraines. There are two theories. The first theory is simply a pinched nerve. When the trigeminal nerve is pinched, the stress causes your brain to develop neurological migraine symptoms such as aura and pain.
The second theory is that your trigeminal nerve becomes overwhelmed by all the signals going through it—especially the extra signals from your stressed TMJ joint. These signals become jammed and cause a migraine. Dr. Clancy and his skilled team at Divine Smiles have helped many people find migraine relief with TMJ treatment. If you experience many or just a few TMJ symptoms, call (781) 396-8558 or make an appointment online with Dr. Clancy.
Consequences of Untreated TMJ Disorder
Some people might opt to live with their TMJ symptoms if they aren’t particularly severe—yet. But the consequences of leaving TMJ disorder untreated are severe and cost you lots of pain, missed experiences, time with your family and friends, career advancements, and money. Treating your TMJ disorder before it becomes worse is imperative. Even though TMJ disorder is not life-threatening, by treating it, you’ll avoid,
Neglecting TMJ disorders can, in certain instances, result in permanent damage to your teeth or jaw. To safeguard your oral health, it is crucial that you seek the expertise of Dr. Ryan Clancy, a specialist in TMJ disorders. By consulting with him, you can obtain an accurate diagnosis and a tailored treatment plan, ensuring timely intervention and preserving your oral well-being. Don't delay—address your symptoms promptly for the best possible outcome.
Schedule an Appointment with a Woburn and Winchester TMJ Dentist
TMJ is a serious condition, but you can get your life back with the right approach. Please contact the Woburn and Winchester neuromuscular dentists at Divine Smiles today at (781) 396-8558 to arrange a TMJ consultation. We are pleased to serve patients in Woburn and Winchester.
Relieving TMJ Pain
Your treatment for TMJ usually starts with a diagnosis using one of our cutting-edge technologies, including transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and K7. These diagnostic tools help us determine your jaw’s natural neutral position so that we can look for the bite-related causes of your pain. Many TMJ patients benefit from wearing an orthotic device, either all day or just at night. Such devices help encourage your jaw to remain in its most natural position, reducing your TMJ symptoms. Patients who also grind or clench their teeth may wear a customized nightguard to prevent damage while they sleep. Some patients may also benefit from certain dental restorations, including bridges, fillings, crowns, or dental implants, to restore their bite to a more natural configuration.
Advanced Diagnostic Tools
In neuromuscular dentistry, cutting-edge technology is indispensable in unraveling the underlying causes of your symptoms, particularly those linked to malocclusion. By harnessing these advanced diagnostic tools, we can deliver precise and customized solutions to alleviate your symptoms and restore optimal jaw function. Our arsenal of advanced tools and techniques includes:
Computerized Jaw Tracking: Neuromuscular dentists utilize state-of-the-art computerized jaw tracking instruments to meticulously record various facets of jaw function. This includes tracking movement, resting position, and the path of closure. This data serves as a cornerstone for pinpointing any irregularities.
Electromyography (EMG): EMG is employed to assess your jaw's muscle function in both relaxed and stressed states. By analyzing muscle activity, dentists can discern muscle tension and balance issues, providing valuable insights for treatment planning.
Jaw-to-Skull Relationship: A critical aspect we examine is the jaw-to-skull relationship. Precise measurements help detect structural imbalances, fostering a comprehensive understanding of your condition.
Sonography: Utilizing non-invasive sonography techniques, we capture sounds produced by the jaw joint. This aids in identifying any abnormal noises or dysfunction within the joint.
X-ray Imaging: Dental X-rays are frequently utilized to provide a comprehensive view of your jaw's condition and positioning. These images are invaluable for accurate diagnosis and meticulous treatment planning.
CT Scan: A CT scan (computed tomography scan) utilizes X-ray technology to obtain cross-sectional images. CT scans are often used to aid in diagnosing TMJ.
Neuromuscular Dentistry takes a holistic approach, considering the intricate relationship between the jaw joint, muscles, and nerves in addition to traditional dental factors. It aims to achieve optimal oral health by addressing the root causes of issues related to these components.
TMJ Disorder can have various causes, including jaw misalignment, muscle tension, teeth grinding, and injury to the jaw or head. It often results from a combination of factors, making a comprehensive evaluation essential for diagnosis and treatment planning.
Dr. Ryan Clancy and every member of our team are here to help guide you to your healthiest, most confident smile. Take the first step by scheduling a full assessment of your concerns, and begin designing your ideal smile and personalized treatment plan.