It’s normal to get the occasional headache, but if you’re having ongoing problems with migraine-like symptoms, headaches, and jaw pain, the problem might be something more serious. Your temporomandibular joint is a key part of your jaw, and issues in this area can cause ongoing pain that can interfere with daily life. As a full service dentist in Virginia Beach, Mill Dam Dental offers innovative treatments for TMJ issues that can help you live a more comfortable, pain-free life. Here’s what you need to know about TMJ/TMD Disorders.
What are TMJ Disorders?
TMJ is an abbreviation that stands for temporomandibular joint. Your TMJ is a joint at the very back of your mouth and it connects your jaw to your skull. There are two of these joints, one on either side of the mouth. The TMJ acts as a hinge, but it also slides back and forth as it moves. You use your TMJ when you speak, eat, or move your jaw.
TMJ issues occur for a number of reasons, and is characterized by pain that spreads from the back of the jaw through the head and neck. This condition is sometimes referred to as temporomandibular disorder, which is abbreviated as TMD. Although TMJ disorders can be very uncomfortable, it is usually temporary and can be managed with the appropriate treatment.
What are the causes of TMJ Dysfunction?
There are a number of different causes of TMJ complications, and not everyone experiences TMJ pain for the same reasons. Here are some of the most common causes of TMJ issues.
- The jaw is damaged as a result of an injury. Things like car accidents and sports accidents can result in a sharp impact that misaligns the structure of the jaw or causes damage to the cartilage in the area. If the jaw does not recover properly, it can lead to TMD.
- Ongoing arthritis leads to a breakdown of cartilage in the jaw. Cartilage supports the jaw’s natural movement, so when the cartilage breaks down, this movement can get very painful.
- The patient has a long-term habit of clenching their jaw or grinding their teeth. This motion creates extra tension that can become uncomfortable or even painful. Many people grind their teeth at night, which can make this habit very difficult to break. Luckily, there are mouth guards and other tools available that can help to prevent these symptoms.
- The patient has a genetic condition that makes them prone to structural problems in the jaw or problems with the connective tissues in the mouth. Genetics can make a person more likely to develop TMD over time.
Identifying the cause of TMD can help your dentist determine the appropriate treatment for you and reduce your symptoms.
What are the symptoms of TMJ Disorders?
There are a variety of symptoms of TMJ Disorders to look for. These symptoms can vary depending on the root cause of your TMJ disorder. Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with TMD:
- Pain on one or both sides of the jaw. The jaw may also feel tender to the touch.
- Symptoms similar to tension headaches or migraines
- Limited mobility in the jaw, or a complete inability to move the jaw or open the mouth.
- Tension headaches or migraines that feel connected to the jaw. These headaches can happen when the muscle tension from the jaw spreads to the muscles around the skull.
- Pain, aching, or fatigue in the facial muscles, as they are connected to the muscles in the head and jaw
- Pain or achiness in the neck. This usually occurs near the top of the neck, where the neck is connected to the jaw.
- Pain, muscle aches, fatigue, or limited mobility in the shoulders and upper arms. This happens in severe cases, because the muscles in the jaw, neck, shoulders, and arms are all interconnected.
- Hearing issues, including a ringing noise in the ears or pain in the ear. This occurs because the ears are located very close to your TMJ.
- A feeling of vertigo, either on its own or as a result of migraines or pain.
Many people mistake TMJ symptoms for symptoms of other problems, particularly if they have had an injury in the past that affects the neck and shoulders. Since pain in the mouth and the surrounding area can be caused by a wide range of different problems, it’s important to get it checked out so you can find the appropriate treatment.
When should I seek treatment?
Many people don’t seek treatment for their TMJ, even when they should. Severe Headaches and other symptoms of TMD are common and can be caused by a myriad of conditions, making it difficult to identify. However, failing to seek treatment for TMJ issues can allow the problem to get worse over time. This is why dental checkups are so important. Getting treatment as early as possible is the best way to minimize the pain and discomfort and ensure that it doesn’t come back.
If you’ve been experiencing any TMD symptoms, talk to your dentist as well as your primary care doctor to get an expert opinion. They can help you rule out other health problems and make an educated decision about appropriate treatment. Continue to monitor your symptoms, noting if things get worse. If your pain is making it difficult for you to eat, drink, speak, or breathe, or it is interfering with your work or your home life, contact a medical professional immediately.
If you’ve been struggling with a TMJ Disorder, don’t worry – there are a number of different treatments for this issue. Many people are able to fully recover from TMJ or effectively manage it over time. Here are some of the treatments to consider if you’re struggling with TMJ syndrome.
Mill Dam Dental offers an innovative new treatment for TMJ disorders called The Urbanek splint. While there are many different types of splints available to help relieve pain from TMD, this one stands out because of its comfort and efficacy. The Urbanek solution is a very small acrylic mouthpiece that’s comfortable enough to wear all day and all night. It helps to reduce symptoms very quickly by reducing inflammation in the jaw. The Urbanek device has a very high success rate, which is why Mill Dam Dental encourages patients to try it. It’s particularly effective for people who have tried other treatments for their TMD and have not had the results they were looking for.
If TMJ pain and tension has been affecting your everyday life, now is the time to contact your dentist and find a solution. Since TMJ is easily treatable, it’s worth taking the time to find a solution to this challenging problem. Mill Dam Dental is the only dentistry providing the Urbanek solution for TMJ treatment in the Virginia Beach area. We offer the innovative Urbanek splint, which is an unobtrusive way to reduce pain quickly and easily. If you’re struggling with TMJ syndrome, contact us today so you can start feeling better soon.