5 Surprising Facts about TMJ Disorder

Categories: TMJ/TMD


Do you know where your temporomandibular joint is? This small round joint connects the jaw to the skull on both sides. You probably never think about your temporomandibular joint unless you develop a problem with it. Temporomandibular joint disorder (also referred to as TMJ disorder or TMD) occurs when the joint enters a state of dysfunction. TMJ disorder affects millions of Americans and many of them never receive a proper diagnosis or treatment. If that surprises you, we’re just getting started. Today on the blog, your neuromuscular dentists in Santa Cruz present five surprising facts about TMJ disorder.

Fact 1: TMJ disorder can make your teeth hurt

The list of symptoms of TMJ disorder is wide-ranging and can vary widely from person to person. This is one reason why it can be difficult for so many who suffer from this ailment to receive a proper diagnosis. If your temporomandibular joint issues are being caused by an imbalance in your bite, crooked teeth or crowding in the mouth, any of these conditions can place extra pressure or inordinate force on your other teeth, heightening sensitivity or even creating a toothache.

Fact 2: TMJ disorder can cause chronic headaches

Everyone gets a headache once in a while, but if you are living with frequent headaches, this can make it difficult to function on a daily basis. If you’re living with chronic headaches, especially if they tend to manifest first thing in the morning, then TMJ disorder could be the culprit. Why does this happen? When your temporomandibular joint begins to malfunction, it has a radiating effect, impacting the jaw joints, as well as the surrounding musculature and nerves. The trigeminal nerve is located very close to your temporomandibular joint. This nerve carries more sensory information than any neural pathway in the body, including the spinal cord. When the trigeminal nerve becomes compressed, aggravated or impacted by TMJ disorder, this sends impulses of pain to the brain that trigger a tension headache. Headaches caused by TMJ disorder often are misidentified as migraines, another variation of a tension headache.

Fact 3: TMJ disorder can cause tinnitus

Tinnitus, the clinical term for a chronic ringing of the ears, can be a frustrating and disorienting condition. It’s also a potential consequence of TMJ disorder. As part of the radiating effects of the condition, TMJ disorder may impact the eustachian tube, a passage that connects the middle ear to the nasal sinus cavity. Specifically, TMJ disorder’s effects on the eustachian tube can cause damage or a constant ringing sound, which gets worse if there are other sounds happening.

Fact 4: TMJ disorder and fibromyalgia are linked

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes pain and soreness throughout the body. Research published within the past decade has established a commonality between TMJ disorder and fibromyalgia, focused on the fact that both ailments cause muscular pain. If you already have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, it is worthwhile to schedule a consultation with a neuromuscular dentist to determine if you also have TMJ disorder.

Fact 5: You can correct TMJ disorder without surgery

Certain severe cases of the disorder may require surgery, but this is quite rare. Instead, you can seek non-invasive treatment from a neuromuscular dentist in Los Gatos. A neuromuscular dentist is actually the best qualified medical professional to diagnose and treat TMJ disorder. A specialization of dental science that focuses on the alignment of the bite and jaw, neuromuscular dentistry can only be studied on a post-graduate level. A true neuromuscular dentist has completed rigorous education and training, which helps them solve one of the greatest diagnostic riddles in medicine.

TMJ treatment in Los Gatos, Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz in California

TMJ disorder is a serious medical condition. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, the problem will only get worse and have continuing effects throughout the body. If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder, schedule a consultation with Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry today by calling (831) 438-4411.