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Recognizing the Symptoms of TMJ Pain

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Do you have headaches, difficulty opening your jaw, facial pain, or neck and shoulder pain? Our dentists at North York can explain why you might have a TMJ disorder.

Head and neck pain, as well as jaw dysfunction, are very common conditions that can be simple to resolve or complex, depending on the underlying cause. TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) or TMD (temporomandibular disorder) is a common term for jaw pain that can be very frustrating to experience and treat, depending on the circumstances.

Symptoms of Temporomandibular Disorder or TMJ Pain

  • Headache / Migraine
  • Jaw joint pain
  • Limited mouth opening
  • Ear congestion
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Loose teeth
  • Sleep apnea
  • Clenching or grinding
  • Jaw joint clicking or popping
  • Chewing difficulties
  • Eye pain, ear pain
  • Postural problem - neck, back pain
  • Tingling of the fingers
  • Hot and cold-sensitive teeth
  • Nervousness or insomnia
  • Facial pain

How can all of these symptoms be related to the teeth and bite?

The Temporomandibular Joints (TMJs) are two joints in the lower jaw (TMJs). A condyle of the headrests in a depression in front of both ears in the TMJ. You can feel the joints moving down and forward by putting your fingers in front of your ears and opening and closing them. The joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons hold the lower jaw in place.

If the bite is misaligned from acute trauma or long-term “bad bite” the soft tissues around the joint can be compressed and inflamed.

This TMJ pain can cause symptoms of ear pain as the complex nerves and delicate muscles are out of balance, sending pain to the neck, shoulders, and back. This is known as referred pain.

What causes TMJ disorders?

The hinge and sliding motions of the temporomandibular joint are combined in the temporomandibular joint. The cartilage that covers the parts of the bones that interact in the joint is separated by a small shock-absorbing disc, which normally keeps the movement smooth. TMJ disorders can be painful if:

  • The disk erodes or moves out of its proper alignment
  • The joint's cartilage is damaged by arthritis
  • The joint is damaged by a blow or other impact

However, in many cases, the cause of TMJ disorders is unknown, and some risk factors include rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, as well as jaw injury, chronic grinding of teeth, and connective tissue disease.

Contact our North York dentists to learn more about TMJ symptoms, causes, and treatment. We may be able to provide a referral.

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