2018 has officially begun, and, if you’re like many other Americans, you’re probably looking back to 2017 in order to resolve obstacles faced last year. One of those obstacles might have been TMD pain and it’s possible you didn’t even not know it.
Temporomandibular joint disorders, commonly referred to as TMJ, can be incredibly hard to recognize or diagnose. That’s because symptoms can vary dramatically from patient to patient, and can often worsen with no explanation. Although difficult to diagnose ourselves, TMD is a progressive disorder that could cause irreversible damage if left untreated. If one of your goals is a pain-free 2018, schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately if you recognize any of these symptoms.
Tired Cheeks or Jaw
The temporomandibular joint sits below several key muscles in the face. When the joint isn’t working properly, it forces the surrounding muscles to overcompensate. This can result in a “tired feeling” in the jaw or cheeks similar to that feeling of tiredness in your legs after a run. Other locations this sensation can manifest are the neck, back, and even shoulders.
Clicking or popping sounds when opening the mouth are a classic symptom of TMD. These noises can manifest on one side of the mouth or both, can occur frequently or once a month, and may or may not be accompanied by pain. For those that experience this sound irregularly, less than once a month, you may not need treatment.
Generally developing when popping noises go untreated, a locking jaw is another classic symptom of TMD. This symptom can occur when chewing or talking, and can leave a patient’s mouth stuck either open or closed. Symptoms such as this one can also severely restrict the mobility of the mouth, making eating difficult.
Although not a common symptom of TMD, facial swelling can occur around compromised muscles causing a “puffy” look under the eyes and around the cheeks. The cause of this symptom aren’t necessarily clear, but could be related to inflammation associated with joint damage. Other times, this could be related to overdevelopment of the jaw muscles due to exertion. Sometimes the puffiness appears on only one side of the face.
Discomfort While Eating
TMD can disrupt the alignment of your jaw in subtle ways you may only notice while eating. If you’re experiencing discomfort ranging from mild to sever while eating, than it may be time to seek help. Left untreated, TMD can significantly change the structure of the jaw leading to malocclusion (jaw misalignment).
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, then the time for treatment is now. TMJ is a progressive disorder that can become more painful, costly, and difficult to treat over time. Get access to several drug-free treatments now by scheduling an appointment.
Want to learn more about TMJ treatment? Please call (914) 332-4402 today for an appointment with a Westchester County TMJ dentist at Advanced Dentistry of Tarrytown.