Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is a complex health condition frequently misdiagnosed by dentists and doctors. You may receive treatment for the headaches TMJ causes only to continue to struggle with neck and shoulder pain or ringing in the ears. After visiting several professionals and not getting any real help, you may conclude that it’s all in your head or that you just have to live with it.
This approach is unacceptable to Dr. Nathaniel Lim at Oak Park Dental Associates. He will work with you to uncover the cause of your TMJ and finds the type of relief that works best for you.
One reason for the misdiagnosis of TMJ is that it presents many symptoms not commonly associated with an oral health condition. Some of the most typical symptoms of this disorder include:
You may experience only a few symptoms from this list or nearly all of them. Sometimes symptoms seem to disappear for a while only to return with greater severity. What makes it especially challenging is that you may not realize that your seemingly random symptoms have a common cause. It’s also common for patients to develop secondary issues due to the TMJ such as sleep apnea or depression.
With over ten years of managing and comprehensive treatment of jaw function and bite problems, Dr. Lim truly understands the complexity of this dental disorder. A simple explanation is that TMJ involves an imbalance in the entire jaw system. In reality, TMJ is a catch-all term to describe the several overlapping conditions that produce similar symptoms. Because of this, TMJ was known by more than a dozen different names prior to the 1990s. It was at this point that the American Academy of Orofacial Pain and the Craniomandibular Institute gave it the name temporomandibular joint disorder.
A muscle imbalance in the jaw is one of the first indications that you could have TMJ. This occurs when the muscles in your jaw can’t get into a permanent restful position due to the position of the teeth or strains in other muscles that help to control the jaw. This type of TMJ is the most common and typically responds well to early intervention efforts.
You can also develop TMJ when the nerves in your face or jaw become pressured or pinched for a variety of reasons. Many nerves in your face must go through the jaw to reach the area that they ultimately control. When TMJ is present, facial nerves combine with jaw muscles to reach the bones inside of the temporomandibular joints. The resulting pressure on the nerves causes pain, numbness, and tingling.
A third type of TMJ happens when the discs that cushion the temporomandibular joints are displaced. The displacement causes problems with the way that your jaw opens and closes. You are likely to hear popping and clicking as well as experience irregular motions of the jaw. As the condition progresses, you may be unable to close your jaw normally due to protrusion or experience limited jaw motion.
These are just three of the potential types of TMJ that Dr. Lim can successfully treat.
For more information about TMJ treatments and bite problems, contact us today.