Jaw pain is a hallmark symptom of temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ. The temporomandibular joint is what connects the skull and jaw. Throughout the day, the joint is used in talking, chewing, and other functions that involve the use of the jaw. The disorder could develop from teeth clenching and nighttime grinding, or bruxism. As a result, the joint becomes inflamed, causing pain and discomfort.
While jaw pain can respond to self-care methods, it can become serious enough to require medical treatment. A dentist can identify early signs of TMJ and treat it. Find out the signs that your jaw needs to be evaluated by a dentist before it leads to serious complications.
#1 Severe Pain
Severe jaw pain is a sign that the problem is serious. Even more so if it’s constant. If anti-inflammatories do not ease symptoms, it’s best to leave it to a professional to treat. Jaw pain from TMJ may come and go in the early stages, but when pain is constant, it means it has progressed to an advanced stage. If it keeps you from focusing on work or other important tasks, or if it prevents you from getting good sleep, see a dentist for treatment.
#2 It Hurts to Open Your Mouth to Speak or Chew Food
TMJ can make it difficult to open the mouth to speak and eat. If the temporomandibular joint is inflamed or injured, talking and eating becomes difficult. Both are critical functions that, if you are unable to do, it means the jaw problem is serious.
#3 Jaw Pain is Accompanied by Headaches
TMJ can cause pain elsewhere in the body. For instance, headaches and migraines are associated with TMJ. There are TMJ muscles located in your cheeks and head, so tension, inflammation, or damage in the jaw muscles could easily spread to those areas. Oftentimes, a TMJ headache is misdiagnosed as a tension headache.
#4 You Wake Up with a Stiff Jaw
If you are waking up with a stiff jaw or a feeling like your jaw is locked in place, your TMJ may be serious. While asleep, you are likely grinding your teeth, which is causing jaw muscle tightness and stiffness.
#5 You Hear Sounds When Moving Your Jaw
There is nothing normal about hearing clicking, cracking, or popping sounds when moving your jaw. It is indicative of a serious problem, such as dislocation of TMJ cartilage or a displaced disc.
TMJ Treatment in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
Dr. Steve Hagerman at Hagerman Dental Care is the dentist you want to treat your TMJ issue. Dr. Hagerman regularly treats patients with TMJ disorder, prevents complications from occurring, and restores proper jaw function. In addition to TMJ, Dr. Hagerman can treat dental issues that can arise from teeth clenching and grinding, such as crooked or misaligned teeth and worn-down enamel making teeth more sensitive and vulnerable to cavities.
Don’t let your jaw pain continue any longer. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Hagerman, call our Minneapolis-St. Paul dental clinic at (651) 646-2392 or use our convenient appointment request form. We look forward to providing you with the best jaw pain treatment in Minneapolis-St. Paul.