Have you recently developed pain in facial areas such as your jaw, neck and shoulders? If so, there’s a chance that you may have developed TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) disorder. TMJ disorder can occur and progress due to a number of different factors. TMJ is fairly common and most often can be a temporary condition. For more information about TMJ disorder in the greater New York City area, contact Park Dental Care of Astoria.
There are many different symptoms of TMJ disorder. Some of these include: blinking, difficulty biting or chewing, an unnatural “popping” sound when opening or closing the mouth, aching pain in the oral region, earaches, headaches, migraines, tenderness of the jaw, hearing loss, dizziness, and neck or shoulder pain. Sometimes patients will experience an uneven or uncomfortable bite and difficulty opening and closing their mouth. As you can see, the signs for TMJ are extremely varied and diverse. If you are experiencing difficulty moving your jaw, or have persistent pain and tenderness in the target TMJ areas, it is advisable that you seek dental assistance to determine if your discomfort is being caused by TMJ disorder.
The cause of TMJ disorder is obscure, to say the least. Often, doctors do not know why a patient develops TMJ. One common explanation is injury to the jaw or surrounding area. This, for obvious reasons, would cause many of the symptoms of TMJ and spark its development. Another source is grinding or clenching of the teeth. This would put unnecessary stress on the temporomandibular joints, creating pain and making contraction of the condition easier. Finally, arthritis is also often considered a source of TMJ.
Diagnosing TMJ disorder is a difficult and confusing process. There are so many possible causes and symptoms of TMJ that identifying a standard diagnosis for this disorder is hard to do. Generally, when determining whether a patient has TMJ, doctors will note the patient’s symptoms and take them into consideration, look over their medical history, and double check their “problem” areas: face, jaw, neck, shoulders and head. If needed, x-rays and imaging studies will be taken. Often, simply facial tenderness or aching symptoms may be a result of other conditions, such as sinus or ear infections and facial neuralgias. Therefore, ruling out these possibilities will help to identify whether or not a patient has TMJ.
Because TMJ is often temporary, treatment is sometimes simple and minimal. Doctors will usually tell TMJ patients to eat soft foods, apply ice packs, and avoid excessive jaw movements, such as yawning or singing. Sometimes patients will be taught gentle jaw exercises to ease the ache and relax the muscles. Additionally, over-the counter pain medication (such as ibuprofen) is recommended to ease pain. Finally, if the doctor sees fit, stabilization from a splint or bite guard may be suggested.
TMJ disorder is painful and gets in the way of many normal, everyday functions. If you are experiencing any of the TMJ symptoms mentioned above, seriously consider consulting a dentist. They can analyze your symptoms, diagnose your condition and rid you of those unnatural and uncomfortable bothers.
For more information about TMJ disorder in Queens, NY, contact Park Dental Care today at 718-Dentist.