Unlike the well-known dental diseases tooth decay and gum disease, the presence of TMJ disorder is not always straight-forward to detect. While the dysfunction occurs among your jaw’s joints and muscles, the discomfort is often manifested as chronic severe headaches and earaches, as well as a number of other dental disorders like bruxism and damaged teeth. So how do you know if your chronic aches and pains are TMJ-related? Typically, it takes a thorough and comprehensive professional examination, but today, we offer a few questions that can help you determine if you should seek treatment for your jaw health and function.
Do You Have TMJ Disorder?
Does your jaw pop and/or click when you bite, chew, and speak?
Your temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, are gliding joints that allow your lower jaw to move around smoothly in its sockets. When these joints are damaged or misaligned, your jaw can often pop and click as it straightens itself while moving.
Do you have trouble fully opening and closing your mouth?
If your TMJ damage or misalignment is severe, it can affect the proper operation of your mouth, making it difficult to open and close your mouth fully. This also makes biting and chewing your food significantly more comfortable.
Do you habitually grind your teeth?
A human bite can exert an impressive amount of pressure (up to 200 pounds on the back molars). While a healthy mouth is designed to withstand the pressures of daily use like biting and chewing, habitually grinding your teeth can place more stress on your jaws than they were meant to take. Also, the discomfort of a distressed jaw can cause muscle spasms and involuntary clenching, making bruxism both a cause and a consequence of TMJ disorder.
Find Out if You Have TMJ Disorder
If you have TMJ disorder, then visit your dentist as soon as possible to diagnose and treat your condition before it grows worse. To learn more, schedule a consultation by calling Lake Forest Dental Arts in Lake Forest, IL, at 847-234-0517. We also proudly serve residents of West Forest Lake, Kennedy, Lake Bluff, Skokie, Junction, and all surrounding communities.