Disorders of the Jaw and How to Recognize Them

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Problems with the jaw are fairly common in the United States. By some estimates, as many as 15% of all Americans have some kind of chronic facial pain. Thus can include earaches, headaches and jaw pain. Many of these problems can be caused by temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. The problem is that many people never seek out help. They may think they need facial pain management help but do not know what can be done. Between 50 and 34% of all people who have this kind of pain never seek out help. That is unfortunate because it is available.

The first thing you need to do is learn the signs and symptoms. Here are some things to look for:

  • Listen to your jaw. Not everyone who has TMJ disorders (TMJD) have jaw pain. For some, the only sign is a distinct clicking that can be heard when the mouth is moved or when you are eating. There are times when this is normal and not related to TMJD so it is important to just pat attention to what is normal for your.
  • Pay attention to pain in or near your jaw. If you want to seek out facial pain management, you may have an issue with TMJD. The pain can start in one location and spread to other areas like your temple, cheek or ear.
  • Think about your jaw mobility. If you find you are having problems with your jaw or that it feels tight or even gets struck, that can be a sign of TMJD.
  • There are some other things to look for, they include:
    • Vertigo (or dizziness).
    • An increased sound sensitivity.
    • New noises in your ear.

Learn the causes of TMJD. This is the next thing you can do to help to determine if your need for chronic facial pain treatment or chronic headache treatment is from TMJD. Most people either have problems with the joint or with the muscles around the joint.

Muscular issues that often cause TMJD are:

  • Stress: If you have a problem with teeth grinding or clenching your jaw, especially when you sleep, this can lead to TMJD. Many people, who are stressed, will also clench their jaw throughout the day.
  • Overuse of the jaw: If you chew a lot of gum or bite your nails, you may be working your jaw too much. That can lead to TMJD.
  • You could have a heightened sensitivity to pain. There are a number of things that can cause this, including stress. If your doctor sees this, they may diagnose a pain syndrome.

The main joint related problem that causes TMJD Is jaw arthritis. In the same way that you can get arthritis of your knee or fingers, you can get it in your jaw. This is a common reason people go for facial pain management help.

If you suspect your facial pain problem is caused by problems with your jaw, there are tests that can be run to check.

  • They can do a physical examination, The good news is that a lot of the time, doctors can tell if you have TMJD by examining you. If they cannot determine what your problem is from taking your history and examining you, they have other options.
  • Blood tests can confirm inflammation. They can also be used to make sure there is not another cause for the pain in the area.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to give your doctor a better look at your jaw. This can also detect other problems. This is much better than an x-ray for making the right diagnosis.
  • Your doctor can give you an injection. If they give you a nerve block, they can see where the pain is originating. They basically give you a local anesthetic. If it works, they can tell that your jaw joint is the problem and it not with your muscles.
  • Your doctor can look inside your jaw with a camera. If everything else fails, your physician can perform an arthroscopic procedure to look inside and see what is going on.

Needing facial pain management help is not fun. Pain is not fun. Finding the reason for it can make a big difference when it comes to determining the right treatment plan. The good news is that TMJD can be treated.

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