If you have a TMJ disorder, the last thing you want to do is ignore it, because not only can the pain quickly become hard to ignore but you could also end up dealing with chronic migraines, problems chewing and even permanent damage to your teeth.
TMJ, or the temporomandibular joint, is the joint that causes your pain. When it fails to work correctly, we call it a TMJ disorder, or TMD. About 10 million Americans are currently dealing with TMJ pain and even though it is a relatively tiny joint, it can still cause terrible pain if it malfunctions. The small joint works like a sliding hinge connecting your jaw to your skull so that you can eat, open and close your mouth, talk and yawn with ease. Imagine that your joint is so damaged that each of these movements can leave you in pain throughout your day.
Symptoms of TMJ Pain You Shouldn’t Ignore
-Clicking and popping sounds when moving your jaw to chew or speak.
-Throbbing migraine-like headaches that feel like they’re happening behind your eyes.
-Earaches accompanied by dizziness and a sensation of “fullness” in your ears.
-A locked jaw when you open and close it.
-Jaw pain from your temples running down the sides of your upper jaw or a distinct feeling of discomfort like your jaw isn’t in alignment.
-An inflamed TMJ can leave you feeling facial pain in your cheeks and under your eyes and forehead. This often happens from muscle tension that creates TMJ pain or pain in your face.
-Pain in your neck and shoulder areas because of muscle tension caused by a TMJ disorder or bad posture.
-Teeth grinding and jaw clenching that leave you with chipped and cracked teeth. Jaw misalignment can also cause your upper and lower teeth to no longer come together correctly, often from severe temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
What Happens When TMD Goes Untreated
If you have symptoms pointing to TMJ issues, you won’t want to ignore them! While minor discomfort might eventually resolve itself, more often dismissing chronic pain can leave you with worsening symptoms over time, including the following:
-Poor quality of life: Chronic pain typically doesn’t go away on its own, and if you turn to pain medication, you’ll eventually have potentially harmful side effects from them. Constant pain also interferes with sleep and concentration and debilitating anxiety and depression.
-Ongoing severe pain in your head, neck and shoulders areas: When your TMJ is out of alignment, you’ll experience sore and stiff jaw muscles. Left untreated, this tension will often spread to other areas of your body. When this happens, you’ll have headaches and pain in your neck, upper back and shoulders. In the early stages, you might be able to ignore this pain, but eventually, it can become unbearable.
-Earaches: Since your jaw joints rest in front of your ears, severe jaw pain can leave you with earaches, ringing in your ears, ear infections, problems with your hearing and even dizziness from vertigo.
-Permanent jaw damage: You engage your TMJ whenever you chew, talk or yawn, so minor discomfort will likely worsen with time. When that happens, you can find yourself getting a locked or dislocated jaw or permanent damage to your TMJ cartilage.
Call For Consultation
If you find yourself with any of the TMJ disorder symptoms outlined above, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Treating any issue in the early stage is often the least invasive and least costly to fix. We welcome you to reach out and schedule a consultation so your jaw can be healthy and pain free!