TMJ disorder describes a dysfunction with your jaw’s joints, clinically known as temporomandibular joints (TMJs). The condition is likely to develop when your bite is imbalanced, or injured, and the joints are exposed to excessive pressure. Because your jaw’s nerve is part of the largest of your 12 cranial nerve groups, the discomfort associated with TMJ disorder can spread from your jaws to your head, neck, face, shoulders, and back. Treating TMJ disorder requires an official diagnosis from your Southlake dentist, but Dr. Wright explains that you can judge the likelihood of TMJ disorder with a simple home assessment. If you experience chronic discomfort and aren’t sure why, then Dr. Wright’s advice can help you determine if your bite is imbalanced and possibly in the grips of TMJ disorder.
Analyze Your Symptoms
Because of the diversity of TMJ disorder’s symptoms, determining its presence can be difficult. While skilled at dealing with maladies of the human body, your physician isn’t trained in the intricacies of oral/maxillofacial structures, and may not be equipped to accurately diagnose the jaw dysfunction. Some of the more common symptoms that can warn you of TMJ disorder include;
- Popping and clicking when you open and close your jaw
- Difficulty opening and closing your mouth; lockjaw
- Chronic headaches, including migraines
- Recurring earaches
- Ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus
- Sore or fatigued face and jaw muscles
Assess Your Jaw’s Balance
Your two TMJs are located just in front of each ear, and connect your lower jaw to your skull. The two joints move in tandem when you open and close your jaw, and rely on balance to operate smoothly. If your teeth are crooked, or if your jaw is asymmetrical, then your bite may be placing excessive pressure on your jaw’s joints and muscles. To determine if your bite is even, stand in front of a well-lit mirror where you can see your face clearly. With your jaw at rest, slowly open your mouth wide, and then slowly close it again. If you notice your jaw move to the side, instead of straight up and down, then it may be adjusting itself due to an imbalance. Placing your hands on either side of your jaw as you open and close it can help you feel the path of your jaw’s movement for a closer assessment.
About Gregory Wright, DDS:
As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He is happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment with your cosmetic dentist, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.