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When Your TMJ Pain is More Than Just a Nuisance

Posted on 5/15/2024 by Pacific Oral and Facial Surgery Center
Woman holding jaw before dental appointment at Pacific Oral & Facial Surgery Center in Livermore, CAHave you ever felt like your jaw is locked in a tug-of-war, with invisible forces pulling and pushing, causing a cacophony of clicks, pops, and grinds? If so, you're not alone. Millions of people suffer from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, a condition that affects the hinges connecting your jawbone to your skull. While many experience occasional TMJ discomfort, for some, the pain becomes a constant, unwelcome companion, impacting daily life and overall well-being.

But how do you know when your TMJ pain is more than just a fleeting annoyance? When does it cross the line from a minor inconvenience to a significant health concern?

Here are some red flags to watch out for:

1. Chronic Pain: If your TMJ pain persists for weeks or months, accompanied by tenderness and stiffness in the jaw muscles, it's time to seek professional help.

2. Limited Jaw Movement: Difficulty opening or closing your mouth, or experiencing a locking sensation, can significantly impact your ability to eat, speak, and even yawn.

3. Facial Pain and Headaches: TMJ disorders can radiate pain beyond the jaw joint, causing headaches, earaches, and facial pain.

4. Clicking and Popping Sounds: While occasional clicking may be harmless, constant and painful clicking or popping sounds could indicate underlying joint damage.

5. Difficulty Chewing: If chewing becomes painful or challenging, it can lead to dietary limitations and nutritional deficiencies.

6. Ear Problems: Ringing in the ears, dizziness, and hearing changes can be associated with TMJ disorders.

7. Sleep Disturbances: TMJ pain can disrupt your sleep, leading to fatigue and impacting your overall health.

Don't let TMJ pain control your life. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, don't hesitate to consult an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. They are experts in diagnosing and treating TMJ disorders, offering a range of treatment options from conservative measures like physical therapy and bite splints to minimally invasive surgical procedures in severe cases.

Remember, taking charge of your TMJ pain is crucial for maintaining your oral health, overall well-being, and quality of life. With the right diagnosis and treatment, you can reclaim control and say goodbye to the constant discomfort.

Restoration dentistry plays a vital role in TMJ treatment. By addressing bite imbalances, worn-down teeth, or missing teeth, oral surgeons can restore proper jaw function and alleviate TMJ-related pain. In some cases, restoring proper occlusion through crowns, bridges, or implants can significantly improve TMJ symptoms.

By working with experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeons, you can find the right solution for your individual needs and regain a life free from the limitations of TMJ pain.

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Board certified in Oral & Maxillofacial surgery
The surgical specialty of oral and maxillofacial surgery requires up to six additional years of hospital based surgical and anesthesia training beyond dental school.
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