Why Your Jaw Pain May Be A More Serious Condition
Do you experience pain in your jaw when you chew, speak, or yawn? This may be the result of an injured TMJ. Your temporomandibular joint, also known as TMJ, connects your upper and lower jaws. We use this joint every day, and it can be hard to properly function on a daily basis if it’s injured.
Is your injured TMJ making it hard to talk to others or enjoy your meal while on a date? Many Americans injure this joint at some point in their lives, but treatment will alleviate your pain so you can get back to living a happy life.
What Causes TMJ Pain?
When your TMJ becomes misaligned, it can cause severe pain. If you experience this, you may be suffering from TMD, which stands for temporomandibular disorder. This painful feeling in your jaw can be caused by a variety of causes.
Bruxism is the disorder that develops when someone grinds their teeth together repeatedly, causing damage to the TMJ. This disorder can be caused by stress, misaligned teeth, or a sleep disorder. Oftentimes people are unaware of their bruxism, and it may be damaging their jawbone at night while they’re sleeping.
Over time, your TMJ may become painful and sore due to over usage or using your teeth for purposes other than chewing food and talking. This can cause you to develop arthritis and lead to TMD.
If you’ve recently been in an accident or suffered an injury that affected your face, you may have developed TMD. A direct hit to the jaw or bumping your jaw against something is enough to damage it.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
Facial injuries can be severe and cause permanent damage to its structure, so it’s essential to know what symptoms to look for that might be a sign you have TMD and need treatment.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, contact Dr. Huff to seek treatment:
- Sore jawbone joint
- Inflammation in the jawbone or joint
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Aching face and jaw
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
How TMJ and Arthritis Are Connected
Arthritis occurs when bacteria attacks your muscles, causing them to begin to deteriorate and become inflamed. This causes pain and discomfort through the affected joints. If arthritis spreads to your jaw, it can affect your TMJ. Contact your doctor if you experience pain or stiffness around your jaw, face, or ears.
TMD can also cause arthritis. If your TMJ pain is caused by bruxism, you’re at a higher risk of developing arthritis due to the fact that it damages your muscles.
Restoring Your TMJ Through Treatment
Once you’ve been diagnosed with TMD, Dr. Huff will create a customized treatment plan to eliminate your TMJ pain. This may consist of one or more treatment methods based on the severity of the condition and your tolerance.
The most non-invasive way to treat TMD is through medications. After evaluating your condition, you may be prescribed pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, a low dosage of antidepressants, muscle relaxers, or a combination of one or more of these.
When TMD is caused by the teeth your grinding together, Dr. Huff may offer a mouth guard or oral appliance to prevent them from grinding together. This will also eliminate the pain caused by Bruxism.
Severe cases of TMD may require additional treatment beyond medications or therapies. Dr. Huff uses surgery to drain build-up, repair the joint, or even replace it if necessary.
TMD can be extremely painful, and botox injections can help. These are injected directly into your facial muscles to relieve the TMJ pain.
Exercise Can Relieve TMJ Disorder
Sometimes TMD can be caught before it becomes too severe, and it may be treated with more natural treatment methods than medications and surgeries.
Simply exercising your jaw or discovering techniques you can use to relax the muscles can relieve the pain in your TMJ. Dr. Huff may even recommend professional physical therapy or acupuncture exercises to relieve your pain.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I see a doctor for TMJ?
If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, we recommend contacting us as soon as possible to be diagnosed and start receiving treatment.
What causes jaw pain when chewing?
If your TMJ is damaged or misaligned, you may notice pain while chewing.
Is ear pain when chewing or yawning normal?
TMD can cause pain throughout your entire jaw, including behind your ears.
Should my jaw pop when I chew?
If you feel your jaw pop, that most likely means that your TMJ is damaged and you should seek treatment before your condition gets worse.
Can TMJ cause hearing loss?
While it’s rare, TMJ disorder can occasionally cause hearing loss. This may be a sign your condition is severe.
Can TMJ cause muscle spasms?
When TMD becomes significantly painful, it’s likely that you may feel your muscles spasm when overstretched.
Can TMJ lead to sinus headaches?
People who have been diagnosed with TMD may experience pain in their sinuses. However, TMJ pain can sometimes be confused with sinus infections, so you should talk to your doctor if you experience this.
What is the best pain medication for TMJ?
Each person responds to medications differently. What works for you might not work as well for someone else. If you have TMD, Dr. Huff will prescribe the pain medication best for you.
Contact Our Practice In Kerrville, TX
If you’re experiencing pain in your jaw or behind your ears, you may be suffering from TMD. Dr. Huff offers a variety of treatments to treat your TMJ pain to help you get back to living a happy, healthy life. Call us today at 830-896-8343 to find the relief you need.
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