Have you been experiencing unexplained jaw pain? If so, you may have a condition known as TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder. This condition impacts the joints that connect your jaw to your skull, making it difficult to speak or chew. Unfortunately, TMD can be quite debilitating for the patient. While the best way to diagnose this condition would be to visit your dentist at Oak Park Dental Group, there are some surefire signs that you can look for in the meantime. To see if you might be dealing with TMD, try taking this brief quiz!
1. Have you had pain or tenderness in the jaw?
One of the clearest symptoms of TMD is pain or tenderness in the jaw. This is indicative that there are issues within the complex system of bones, ligaments, muscles, and discs in the temporomandibular joints.
2. Does your jaw ever lock, making it difficult to open or close your mouth?
If you have TMD, it may feel like you have “lockjaw” from time to time. This is a painful sensation in which it is very difficult to open and close your mouth. While it may feel like your jaw is stuck, this symptom is actually caused by swelling in the joint.
3. Have you been experiencing chronic headaches?
Recent studies have shown that patients often mistook TMD symptoms for tension headaches. However, there are a few differences between TMD and tension headaches that you can look for. TMD headaches often radiate from the neck and are preceded by jaw pain. These headaches are often paired with facial tenderness, stiffness in the jaw joint, and earaches. It’s also unlikely that you would experience nausea, sensitivity to light, and fatigue with a TMD headache. Therefore, if you experience these symptoms, you likely have a migraine.
4. Do you hear clicking or popping sounds when you open and close your mouth?
If you hear clicking or popping sounds when you open and close your mouth, this could be a sign of TMD. When the cartilage in your joints is damaged, it makes a grinding sound. Therefore, it is important to mention these sounds to your dentist as soon as possible.
5. Do your symptoms worsen during times of stress?
Stress often manifests itself in physical ways, such as clenching your jaw, tensing your muscles, or grinding your teeth. All of these expressions of stress can be harmful to your temporomandibular joints. Therefore, if you have jaw pain during times of stress, this could be indicative of TMD.
6. Do you suffer from arthritis?
If you suffer from degenerative joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, this could lead to TMD. These diseases destroy the cartilage, which can affect your bite and create misalignments in the jaw that cause TMD.
If you suffer from TMD, your dentist can help! Call Oak Park Dental Group in Chicago today to schedule your next visit.