Tmj disorders can be caused by a variety of medical condition, and we mentioned the most common of them earlier in the article TMJ disorder. Since the causes of TMJ disorder can vary in a wide range they can be muscular, nevralgic, etc sometimes they are difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be confused with other condition. If not treated in time TMD can cause severe permanent damage for tmjs and the surrounding tissues. People with TMD can feel discomfort or even severe pain and they are chronic most of the time.
The most common symptoms of Temporomandibular joint disorder include:
Headache- Is one of the most common symptoms but is also the easiest symptom to confuse with other condition like migraine. The pain usually happens on the forehead region, temple region and in the back of the head.
Neck And Shoulder Pain- Very often TMD patient feel neck pain, that’s because the regular function of tmjs is related with the balance of jaw-skull. Any discomfort of tmjs causes imbalance problems will twist the jaw into a straitened position that refers pain in the neck muscle, shoulders and back. This has a simple explanation. Since muscles work as a team, contacted muscles of the jaw will make the head lean in not a normal position. That will cause compensation from the back, shoulder and neck muscles.
Facial Pain- When the lower jaw (mandible) is imbalanced all the surrounding tissue like: bones, muscles and nerves get affected. Especially the face muscles will experience contraction and strain when working harder trying to compensate the unaligned jaw.
Ear Problems- There is a variety of symptoms in the ear that TMD patient can experience. Ringing ears or tinnitus is one of them. Is often confused for ear infection but it is present in 33 % of the patients and the symptom disappears as soon as the bite is corrected. A lot of people who have TMS might experience even ear pain (otalgia), and we are talking about 50 % of them. The pain usually happens in the morning, around the areas in front or below the ear. Another symptom of TMD can be fullness of the ear described as clogged, muffled or full ears. These might be cause by eustachian-tube dysfunction, the anatomical structure responsible for regulatin the pressure in the middle ear. The hyperactivity of the muscles of in TMD patient can cause problems when opening or closing the eustachian tube. Other symptoms related with ears are: loss of hearing, impaired hearing ,dizziness (vertigo) and loss of balance.
Clicking, Popping, or Grinding sounds- Are the most common symptoms of TMD. Most of the people don’t feel pain when these sounds are made. The cause of these symptoms most of the time is a dislocated dick. As we said in the other article about TMJ, it is made of 3 components: Condyle, articular disk and the socket ( glenoid fossa). If the disk is dislocate then the other two structures come in contact when opening or closing the mouth, rubbing against each other causing the typical sounds like clicks, or popping. There are a lot of people with TMD that feel pain when this happens, the pain can even very problematic, making it difficult to speech or eat.
Locked Jaw- If the previous symptoms are left untreated foe a long time they can precipitate in locked jaw. The mouth gets blocked in a closed or open position, causing great pain. This is a condition that needs professional help. Your dentist can help you close your mouth when it is blocked in open position with an easy maneuver, or can prescribe you pills to stop muscle spasms.
Sensitive and Sore Teeth- These is a common symptom of TMD, especially if the cause of the TMD are the teeth. They may become sensitive to clenching or grinding, action that is often seen in TMD. Sometimes it’s difficult to diagnose this condition and the dentist can perform a root canal therapy or even extraction on your teeth aggravating the situation.
Jaw pain- Since people with TMD have imbalanced bite, these causes improper pressure in the jaw bone. In time these pressure will dissolve the bone or extra bony projection will build up as compensation. These might relief from pain but will also cause permanent damage to the jaw, and so on to the facial structure.
If you are feeling any of these symptom you should seek professional help as soon as you can, to prevent any aggravation of the condition that will then need invasive treatment.
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