What Is TMJ?
TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint. This is the hinge point where your jaw meets the temporal bones in your skull, right in front of your ears. Your jaw is very flexible and can move in multiple directions – not just up and down, but sideways, as well. Because there is so much movement in the connective tissues that join all the parts of your head and face, disorders and injuries to the jaw can affect much more than just your teeth.
Choose Relief From TMD
TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder) can be treated. It refers to all the disorders and issues that can arise at the TMJ. It is not necessary to live with the pain and discomfort of the symptoms – you can get help and live the way you want to.
If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed below, contact Dr. Hakim for an in-depth consultation. Find out if you are suffering from TMD, and how the treatments available can help you.
Click on the symptom to learn more about how it may be affecting you.
Almost everyone has had a headache at some point in time. And everyone experiences them differently. They can range from a mild annoyance to an unbearable, head-splitting migraine. No matter how mild a headache might be however, it can still have a great impact on your daily functioning. If TMD is the cause of your headaches, we have the treatment here to help you. It does not matter what diagnosis or treatment you got from other health professionals.
Tinnitus / Hearing Loss
Most people have experienced temporary ringing or brief piercing sounds in the ears. It usually doesn’t last too long. However, if you experience this symptom over a prolonged period of time, you could be susceptible to eventual hearing loss, especially when doctors do not find the cause.
Stuffiness in the ears can be common, especially if you suffer from allergies or have a cold. Sometimes a simple ear cleaning brings relief. If however, your ear congestion is not due to a cold or allergies, and cleaning doesn’t work, you may be suffering from chronic ear congestion related to TMD. This is especially true if you are also experiencing pain deep in the ear, crackling noises, of suffer repeated ear infections.
Vertigo / Loss of Balance
Vertigo is a result of disorientation that can make you feel like you’re spinning. You may experience weakness and a loss of balance, instability, and the inability to distinguish the difference between up and down. Attacks of dizziness and light-headedness also occur. This is a result of problems with the inner ear which controls balance. If TMD is causing pressure on the crucial areas of the inner ear, you may suffer vertigo.
Visual disturbances can consist of auras, shrouding darkness, bright spots, rainbow crinkles and light halos that appear in your field of vision. These often occur before, during or after the onset of a migraine headache. Sensitivity to light and the inability to see properly can make an already unbearable migraine even more distressing.
Insomnia / Sleep Apnea
Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or the inability to stay asleep. Sleep apnea is a breathing condition which causes the sufferer to stop breathing, then wake up gasping for air in a cyclical pattern. Both insomnia and sleep apnea prevent you from getting a full night of restful sleep. Chronic lack of sleep leads to fatigue, irritability, restlessness and can also eventually weaken your immune system. Lack of sleep also causes clenching of the teeth at night, which puts pressure on the TMJ causing multiple TMD symptoms. Without proper sleep, you lose your ability to be alert, productive, and energetic during the day.
Shoulder / Neck / Back / Muscle Pain
Pain in the jaw, face, or neck that is a result of TMD can affect the way you hold your head, cause you to clench your teeth, and even unconsciously make you tense in your neck, shoulders and other muscles of your upper body. As a result, neck, shoulder, back pain, and even the upper arm discomfort can be easily misdiagnosed. If we can discover TMD as the cause of your suffering, we can also treat it quickly and permanently, the sooner, the better.
Tingling In The Fingertips
All of our nerve endings are interconnected in a complex network that can be traced back to their root at the base of the skull. Because TMD can affect all of the area around the jaw (including the base of the skull) the nerves to fingertips can easily be affected causing tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness in the hand. Life skills become more difficult as you struggle with simple tasks such as holding utensils, buttoning or zippering, or being able to grasp even small objects.
Restless Leg Syndrome
As with nerves in the other extremities, the major nerve channels extending into the legs can be affected by TMD. The result is called restless leg syndrome. It is characterized by tingling sensations, pins and needles, muscle twitching, and general discomfort causing the need to constantly flex and move your leg muscles. These sensations can be so intense that the sleep cycle is disrupted.
Pressure on the jaw joint (resulting from clenching) can cause pain the same as any joint in the body, but in the TMJ area it’s called facial pain.
Pain Around Eyes / Sinus Pain
This can be caused by or be the cause of headaches, sensitivity to light, visual disturbances, and sinus pressure. Sinus cavities are located just beneath the eyes and can become sensitive causing radiating pain into the area around the eyes. The result can be the inability to concentrate, relax, see properly, work productively, or enjoy life.
The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is the hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. Since TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder) directly affects the functioning of the jaw, this is the first area where you are likely to experience pain or discomfort. TMD is an issue involving chronic neuromuscular dentistry. Pain may be constant or come and go over time, appear after periods of rest or activity, and can radiate out to other areas of the face causing eye, ear, sinus, or neck and back pain. Getting treatment right away can prevent the pain from spreading.
Restricted Jaw Movement
TMD causes misalignment of the jaw. When the jaw is not aligned properly, it may result in restricted movement or pressure in other areas, leading to headaches or pain in other areas of the face. You may experience difficulty with breathing, eating, drinking, talking, or normal function.
Clicking and Popping of the Jaw
This is the most common symptom of TMD. Because the jaw is misaligned, it doesn’t hinge properly resulting in clicking and popping eventually leading to more painful symptoms and loud embarrassing sounds.
Grinding and Clenching the Teeth
When you experience facial pain, it is natural to clench your teeth. However, because the jaw has become misaligned, you may also find yourself grinding because the surfaces of the teeth no longer meet properly. Clenching and grinding are a means to gain temporary relief from pain, but can make other symptoms of TMD worse, resulting in a vicious cycle of pain and discomfort. Over time, it may cause deep bite and misaligned teeth requiring expensive orthodontic treatment.
Worn or Cracked Teeth
Grinding and clenching of the teeth over an extended period of time causes the surface of the teeth to wear down. The enamel loses strength and will eventually crack exposing the inner part of the tooth, which can lead to an expensive root canal treatment followed by a crown to strengthen the weakened tooth.
Bite Pain / Sensitive Teeth
Teeth that have been exposed to prolonged periods of grinding or clenching, and that have developed cracks and worn spots, will become sensitive as the inner part of the tooth, containing the nerve endings, becomes exposed. Bite pain can also be a result of movement of teeth which have become loosened by grinding over a long period of time.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The symptoms of pain and tingling in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome resemble the symptoms of neck compression due to TMD. It is worth checking your TMJ before having surgery.
Whiplash and Car Accident
Car accidents can cause whiplash and TMD. Most often this area is missed during treatment and patients complain of pains and aches for years after. If you have had pain since your accident, have your TMJ checked.
Fibromyalgia (Myofascial Pain)
Fibromyalgia is chronic pain that can affect the entire body from headaches to pain in the lower extremities. This kind of pain is usually rare, and may only occur temporarily. In some cases, however, fibromyalgia gets worse over time and eventually becomes chronic. The cause of myofacial pain is often connected to TMD and disappears when it is treated. You might even be able to do without the lifetime of pain medication that sufferers of fibromyalgia often face.