Have you ever heard a mysterious clicking noise when you open and close your jaw? You’re probably not hallucinating – it could very well be a sign of TMJ disorder, especially if you also have persistent headaches, earaches, or jaw pain. Is this condition dangerous? What happens if you don’t treat TMJ in Inwood Village, TX? Read on to find out more.
What Is TMJ Disorder?
The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the hinge connecting the lower jaw to the skull. Temporomandibular disorder, or TMD, simply means that the joint isn’t quite working correctly. Because this is one of the most complex joint in the body, it’s fairly easy for a problem to arise compared to some other joints. However, the exact cause of TMD cannot always be determined. Some possible causes include:
- Injury to the jaw
- Teeth grinding or clenching, also called bruxism
- A misaligned jaw
What Are the Symptoms of TMD?
If you experience any of the following signs, tell your dentist in Inwood Village right away:
- Earaches of headaches that feel like migraines
- A popping or clicking sound when you open or close your mouth
- Feeling like you can’t open or close your mouth all the way
- Your jaw “gets stuck” in one position for a while
- Tender jaw muscles
What Happens If I Don’t Treat TMD?
TMD is not fatal, but not getting it treated can drastically reduce your general quality of life. The constant discomfort in your jaw can make eating or even talking difficult and cause irritability. TMD has been linked with depression. One theory is that jaw pain can interfere with sleep, contributing to depression in people who are already at risk for it.
How Can I Treat TMD at Home?
If you think you have TMD, call your dentist. However, there are a few things you can do to alleviate your discomfort in the meantime, such as:
- Eat soft foods
- Avoid chewing gum
- Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen
- Place heat or cold packs to the outside of your face for 10 minutes at a time
Even though TMJ disorder isn’t deadly, it’s still important to seek treatment, if only to relieve you of your discomfort. If any of the symptoms listed above sound familiar to you, let your dentist know right away.