Tension headaches. Migraine headaches. Aching jaw. Sore teeth. Morning headaches. Do any of these afflictions sound familiar? If so, you may be experiencing temporomandibular disorders (TMD) which indicate that there are problems with your jaw or facial muscles.
These disorders are often called TMJ, but TMJ is actually the abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint, which connects the temporal bone of your skull and your lower jaw. Your dentist can worry about what these problems are called – the constant for you, undoubtedly, is pain, and you want it to go away.
Causes of TMD
TMD is incredibly inconvenient and painful, and can also cause issues with chewing and speaking. Causes of TMD include grinding or clenching your teeth, often caused by stress; rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis in the TMJ; and whiplash or a heavy blow causing injury to the head and neck muscles or TMJ.
So many people live with TMD for so long that the symptoms of this issue often go untreated because they’ve just learned to live with the side effects. But there are a great number of common symptoms for TMD that your body could be exhibiting, including:
- Earaches, hearing problems, or ringing in the ears
- Jaws that “get stuck” or “lock”
- Aches or sore muscles in the face, neck, or shoulders, especially when you open your mouth wide, chew, or speak
- Difficulty opening your mouth wide
- Clicking, popping, or grinding sounds in the jaw when you open or close your mouth
- An uncomfortable bite, as though your upper and lower teeth do not fit together properly
- Difficulty chewing
- Facial swelling
TMD symptoms may also be sporadic. This affliction is common among people between the ages of 20 and 40, and is known to more often affect women than men.
Solutions for Jaw Pain and Headaches
It’s important to keep in mind that some of the symptoms listed above can also be signs of other health problems such as gum disease or toothaches. Your dentist will properly examine your jaw and determine what type of treatment may be necessary to resolve your TMD or other jaw issues.
At our Philadelphia dental office, we often help patients who suffer with jaw pain and headaches by providing them with an NTI tension suppression system that reduces the force of teeth clenching while sleeping. Schedule your first visit with Dr. Ken Cirka so he can identify the measures that need to be taken in order to relieve you of your pain and help prevent any other oral health issues from developing.