4 surprising symptoms of a jaw joint disorder explained by a Santa Monica Dentist
If you have chronic pain in your jaw area accompanied by uncomfortable popping or clicking sounds when you chew, talk, yawn or make certain facial expressions, you probably already suspect you have some sort of issue with your TM joints. What you may not know is that there are additional symptoms of a jaw joint disorder that may surprise you. Here are four of those signs and how they are related to TMJ.
Your TMJ is one heck of a workhorse
The temporomandibular joints are an amazing part of human machinery that connect the upper part of our skull to our lower jaw. You can feel them moving when you place your fingers just in front of either of your ears while you open and close your mouth or move your jaw from side to side. When you think of how much chewing, talking and yawning that the TM joint supports each and every day, it is easy to understand why it gets more use than any other joint in your body.
This is also what makes it considerably more susceptible to injury. Even though the jaw area may be the starting point for your TMJ pain and discomfort, it may not be the only part of your body that is affected. If you have a TM joint disorder, you may also experience some of these lesser-known symptoms:
- Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears
- Dizziness, or vertigo
- Unexplained muscle pain
- Chronic headaches or migraines
How are these symptoms related to TMJ pain?
When the TM joint is injured, stressed from sudden or gradual misalignment of the jaw, or begins to deteriorate from the onset of arthritis, it doesn’t affect just the joint. This is largely due to the trigeminal nerve, an intricate set of cranial nerves that are responsible for providing 70% of the total input to the brain and innervating 40% of the head and facial area, including the jaw area. The referred pain described above is created by a “ripple-down” effect of the connected ligaments, muscles and nerves.
What can you do?
Contact a Santa Monica dental clinic for a full evaluation of your jaw and teeth. Once your dentist has a thorough understanding of the issues affecting your jaw joints, he or she can recommend a treatment plan that can help to resolve your TMJ pain.