TMJ disorder is one of the most challenging oral health issues to detect and diagnose, which is mainly due to the fact that its symptoms are so diverse. Unlike a cavity or case of gingivitis, which may have only a few, distinct symptoms (like toothaches), TMJ disorder can lead to jaw pain, headaches, earaches, muscle soreness in your neck and face, and much more. Fortunately, once you suspect that you might have TMJ disorder, your dentist can help you accurately diagnose and treat it with a professional assessment.
What Is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorder stands for temporomandibular joint disorder, and it affects the two TMJs that connect your lower jaw to your skull. The disorder can describe damage, misalignment, inflammation, or other abnormalities in one or both of the joints. Because the damage, one or both TMJs may have trouble moving together as you open and close your bite. Being close to your jaw’s nerve (the trigeminal nerve) also means that the damage can lead to a wide range of discomforts throughout your head, neck, and facial structures.
The Cause of Your Discomfort
Your trigeminal nerve not only innervates you jaw. It also passes through nearly every one of your craniofacial structures and accounts for over 90% of your cranial nerve input. Because damaged TMJs can aggravate this nerve, they can also cause chronic pain throughout the nerve’s pathway leading to symptoms such as:
- Frequent jaw pain
- Popping/clicking jaw joints
- Facial muscle soreness
- Difficulty biting and chewing
- Chronic headaches and migraines
- Constant teeth-grinding
- And more
Find Out if Your Symptoms Are Related to TMJ Disorder
Because of the nature of TMJ disorder, its symptoms can include a wide variety of aches and pains that may not be immediately obvious. 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 all surrounding communities in the Chicago Metro area.