TMD (temporomandibular disorders) can cause a significant amount of pain and discomfort, as well as a variety of other symptoms that can appear to be characteristics of other issues. Because of this, TMD can be difficult to diagnose. At Chetan Parikh, DMD, MDS, our dentist can help identify any symptoms of TMD and recommend appropriate treatment. If you experience any of the following symptoms, we invite you to visit Dr. Chetan Parikh today for your diagnosis:

Headaches

Your bite involves a series of muscles and tendons that help hold your jaw in its proper place. When you have a malocclusion (bad bite), the jaw muscles have to overcompensate for the misalignment, often resulting in a sore jaw. In some cases, the extra tension that a bad bite can cause leads to a headache. In general, there are four main types of headaches:

1. Migraine: many migraines are a result of genetics or unbalanced hormone levels, and they can be triggered by a variety of things. Some frequently experience migraines due to hunger, stress, or fatigue.

2. Cluster headaches: the cause of these headaches are unknown, but they are often associated with a sudden release of serotonin from alcohol, smoking, heat, bright lights, high altitude, and exertion. Cluster headaches are often in one general area of the face, such as affecting only the left or right side. They can be pinpointed to the forehead, temple, behind the eye, or all three.

3. Tension headaches: these headaches are the most common, and they often occur when the head or neck are tense. In many cases, this is a result of increased stress, injury, or holding the neck in a certain position for a long period of time. Tension headaches are often felt behind the eyes and lower forehead, across the front of the face.

4. Other primary headaches

In many cases, patients with TMD experience tension-like headaches, which can make it seem like your headache is just that: a headache. However, if you experience headaches with other TMD symptoms, you may need to do more than just lower your stress level.

Dizziness and Fainting

Your labyrinth is part of the inner ear that is responsible for maintaining balance. Because the ear and jaw are connected, the labyrinth is actually located in the temporal bone, where your temporomandibular joint is. Many patients who have TMD experience inflamed temporomandibular joints due to extreme tension or strain. When this happens, the fluid in the labyrinth can be disrupted and cause frequent imbalance or dizziness.

Locked Jaw

In most TMD cases, patients experience an overexerted and overworked jaw due to misalignment or other conditions. When the jaw muscles become too exerted, they can tighten up and limit your jaw’s movement, resulting in a locked jaw. Jaws can be locked in either the open or closed position, and it can take up to several minutes for the jaw to fully relax and restore full movement. If you experience frequent locked jaw, visit our dentist and learn whether you require TMD treatment.

Clicking, Popping, or Grating Sounds

TMD can cause a wide range of issues, and each individual will experience different symptoms. In the early stages of TMD, most of the pain or discomfort is isolated to the head and neck, particularly around the jaw joint. A common symptom of TMD is a clicking, popping, or grating sound when opening or closing the jaw. These sounds are often associated with having a displaced joint, causing your condyle (the “ball” in the joint) to move forward and backward. This “bone against bone” movement can lead to sore jaw joints and strained muscles.

If you experience clicking, popping, or grating sounds when you move your jaw, it is important to visit the dentist right away and check for other signs of TMD. If left untreated, this and other issues can lead to more serious problems such as joint inflammation or bone degeneration.

Oral/Facial Pain

Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is not right. Oral and facial pain can be a result of several different issues, one of them being TMD. Those with TMD often have jaw muscles and joints that experience repetitive strain, which can cause the muscles to tighten or contract and create discomfort. This pain can radiate throughout the jaw joint, up into the forehead to cause headaches, and down the neck. TMD can also have symptoms that appear to be oral issues, such as toothaches and other dental pain.

A common sign of oral and facial pain is isolated pain. Patients may experience tenderness and sensitivity to pressure in a specific area, either from placing the finger on the affected area or from moving the affected muscles in certain ways. If you are experiencing a dull, frequent soreness in your neck, face, or jaw areas, we welcome you to visit our dentist and learn whether TMD treatment can ease your discomfort.

Other Symptoms

In addition to the symptoms above, TMD can be identified by:

– Swelling in the face
– Ringing in the ears
– Difficulty and painful chewing
– Limited jaw mobility
– Difficulty closing the teeth together

If you experience any of these symptoms, you may have a TMJ disorder. To receive your professional diagnosis, we welcome you to contact our practice at 301.235.9450 and schedule your appointment with our dentist.