Experiencing headaches and difficulty talking and eating? Before you start searching up different causes, discover whether or not it has something to do with your temporomandibular joint or TMJ. These joints connect your lower jaw to your skull, hence why they can cause headaches. Normally, these joints are able to move freely, which is why you can talk and chew without difficulty, but sometimes trauma and overuse can cause the TMJ to slip out of place and cause pain and discomfort. When a problem in your TMJ is diagnosed, it is referred to as TMD or Temporomandibular Disorder.
Causes of TMD
Trauma: A sports injury, car accident, or anything that comes into contact with your TMJ can be considered trauma.
Bruxism: Grinding and clenching your teeth causes pressure on the TMJ.
Arthritis: This disease can manifest in any joint, including your TMJ.
Nerve Damage: If your jaw nerves become affected, the pain may be centralized in your TMJ.
Symptoms of TMD
Jaw pain is the most common of the symptoms, but suffers of TMJ may also experience all or a combination of the following
- Mild to severe headaches
- Jaw locking, popping, and sliding
- Difficulty or unable to do activities such as talking and eating.
Diagnosis of TMD
Before a treatment plan can be started, a diagnosis needs to be made on the cause of the TMD. Most commonly, x-rays will be ordered, as well as an MRI or blood tests in order to reach the most accurate conclusion.
Treatment of TMD
No two people will go through the same TMD treatment if the cause is different. One person may have to go through a bottle of antibiotics, others may have to be on arthritic medication, and other may have to have mouth guards and even surgery to correct the discomfort.
Talk to your dentist if you experience any of the symptoms of TMD and they’ll be able to put you on the right path to recovery.