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Causes of and Treatment Options for TMJ Pain

There are a number of symptoms related to TMJ Disorder and TMJ pain. Dr. Melina Morrison of Forney, TX offers a diverse range of TMD treatment options, each of which can be tailored to your specific needs. Thanks to our personalized care, we can address jaw pain, headaches, ear pain, and other systemic concerns. However, we will not simply lessen your symptoms. We will target the underlying cause of your TMD with the ultimate goal of providing true long-term relief from your suffering. Contact our office today to learn more and to find out how we can relieve your discomfort.

What Causes TMD?

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) can result from several different factors. In many instances, it is caused by jaw misalignment. When a patient’s bite is uneven, the soft discs inside the joints may slip out of place. In other cases, an uneven bite can simply inflame the muscles and ligaments. Orthodontic problems and missing teeth can have similar effects, putting more pressure on certain parts of the dental arch. Sometimes, TMD can be related to muscle problems. If one muscle is unusually short, or if a patient is suffering from muscle spasms, this can cause one side of the jaw to move at a different rate than the other.

Bruxism, or chronic teeth grinding and clenching, is another reason that patients may suffer from TMD. Sometimes, bruxism is itself the result of dental imbalance. However, in many situations, it is exacerbated by stress. Constant anxiety will cause the body to produce excess adrenaline. The body will then try to rid itself of this hormone by grinding the jaw.

Jaw Pain

TMJ pain can take several different forms. For some people, it may be sporadic. It may flare up during meals or times of stress. Others may suffer almost chronic pain that can dramatically impact their quality of life. Additionally, jaw pain can be isolated, or it can cause widespread discomfort that radiates into the neck, shoulders, and upper back. Other jaw symptoms can include stiffness and a decreased range of motion. Many patients hear a popping noise when they open or close their mouths.

Anatomy of face and skull with TMJ highlighted in red

Pain resulting from TMJ disorder radiates from the jaw but can affect the face, neck, and upper back.

Headaches

Chronic headaches and migraines are a common symptom of TMD. Jaw imbalance can cause tension in all the facial muscles. However, many patients do not realize that their headaches are the result of jaw inflammation. Some people even experience headaches without any jaw pain. As a result, they take large doses of migraine medication without any noticeable results. By realigning the jaw and releasing trigger points in the nearby muscles, Dr. Morrison can relieve chronic headaches.

Ear Discomfort

Many patients are surprised to learn that their ear pain is the result of TMD. Nerves in the head pass close to the TMJs, ending near the ears. Inflammation in the nearby muscles can also affect these nerves. Often, inflammation can cause ear pain, resembling the discomfort of an ear infection. In other cases, patients may feel pressure in their ears, similar to swimmer’s ear. Still others may suffer from tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or even hearing loss. Although Dr. Morrison can often alleviate ear pain through our TMD treatment, she may also refer you to an ENT for additional care.

Contact Us for More Info

Many people believe that jaw pain is an inevitable part of life, or they think that there is no solution for their discomfort. Pain is never normal, and Dr. Morrison offers several different treatment options. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Forney Office

108 E US Hwy 80 Ste 190
Forney, TX 75126

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(972) 564-7575