A temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a complex condition. Its symptoms may be mysterious, disguising as migraines, earaches, and other issues. In addition, symptoms of TMD may change over time and have a wide variance from one person to another.
For these reasons, TMD can be difficult to diagnose. People who are dealing with the painful symptoms of TMD are often told they just need to take some pain relievers or get a bite splint. Or, they may be told there’s nothing wrong with them. Sadly, this occurs too often when patients see medical practitioners who simply haven’t been trained to identify this condition.
Delaying treatment for TMD can have harmful effects. When TMD isn’t treated, inflammation and irritation in the jaw can continue, resulting in damage to the joint and chronic pain. But, there may be a way to simplify the diagnosis of this disorder so more people can get the relief they need.
2 Questions to Break Down TMD
The Swedish Dental Journal published information about TMD that helped to identify the problem in teenage patients – and it was a simple 2-question survey taken during routine dental visits. By asking these 2 questions, the dentists were able to identify patients who may have TMD. Although this was done on adolescents, these questions may provide useful clues in identifying TMD patients of any age. Ask yourself:
Do you have pain in the temple, face, jaw, or jaw joint at least once a week?
Do you experience pain at least once a week when you open your mouth or chew?
Though there are many other TMD symptoms, this is a good starting point to a discussion about TMD. Regular pain of any kind is a sign that something’s wrong, so don’t dismiss it as “just a headache” or stress-related. While stress is a definite trigger for TMD, managing stress alone often isn’t enough to help heal the jaw and alleviate all your symptoms.
Talking About TMD is Important
The best thing you can do if you suspect you have TMD is to contact MedCenter TMJ so you can discuss all your symptoms and the possible causes behind them. A comprehensive evaluation of your jaw joint as well as a number of lifestyle and health-related factors can get you on the path to truly healing your jaw and feeling like yourself again.
Many people are often surprised to find out that their mystery symptoms, such as ringing in the ears or neck pain, were directly related to TMD and went away when they addressed the root cause and got the treatment they needed.
You deserve to know whether TMD is interfering with your life. Contact MedCenter TMJ to find out more about this disorder and what you can do about it.