7 Signs You May Need TMJ Surgery

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) causes stiffness, swelling, and discomfort. Unfortunately, it affects 28% of the adult population (or 80 million people) in the United States.

 

TMJ disorder causes a variety of problems, including difficulty eating, teeth misalignment, and headaches. But the good news is TMJ surgery is very effective in treating the disorder.

 

Are you a suitable candidate for TMJ surgery? Let’s explore seven signs that you should consider TMJ treatment.

 

1. You’re Having Trouble Eating

 

Your TMJ is located between your jawbone and skull. It controls jaw and mouth movement. Those suffering from TMJ disorder experience problems moving their mouths, which makes it hard to eat.

 

TMJ disorder makes it difficult to bite, chew, and swallow. The movements overwork the jaw muscles, making TMJ pain worse. Many people with the condition find it challenging to enjoy hard or tough foods.

 

TMJ disorder also causes teeth to fall out of their alignment. Overbites, underbites, and open bites make it difficult for teeth to form chewing movements.

 

If you’re having difficulty biting, chewing, or swallowing, you may need TMJ surgery. In the meantime, stick to soft foods for jaw pain relief. Steamed vegetables, beans, mashed potatoes, yogurt, and scrambled eggs are easy on your jaw and teeth.

 

2. You’re Experiencing Frequent Headaches

 

If you’ve been suffering from intense and frequent headaches, the source may be your TMJ.

 

The TMJ muscles run along your jaw and cheekbones. When TMJ disorder develops, pain occurs throughout all of these areas. In some cases, the aches spread further to create unpleasant head pain.

 

Medical researchers believe TMJ headaches are a result of teeth grinding. When the jaw is tense, it spreads pain from the cheeks to the top of the head. Jaw clenching pain leads to widespread discomfort, including headaches.

 

It can be difficult to distinguish a TMJ headache from a tension headache. A TMJ headache may be accompanied by other symptoms of TMJ disorder, including:

 

  • Facial pain, especially around the jaw
  • Clicking or popping noises around the jaw
  • Restricted jaw movement
  • Toothaches
  • Facial inflammation

 

TMJ headaches can be mild, moderate, or severe. The pain feels like a tight band around the forehead and neck.

 

3. Your Jaw Is Clicking

 

Sounds coming from your jaw are a sign of TMJ disorder.

 

The jawbone joints should act like hinges to allow your mouth to open and close. But TMJ disorder can prevent the jaw from performing these functions, which results in jaw pain, jaw locking, and jaw clicking.

 

A TMJ doctor will use ice packs, heating pads, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and TMJ exercises to reduce jaw clicking and popping. If the sounds are frequent and accompanied by pain, your doctor may recommend corrective TMJ surgery.

 

4. Your Face Looks Different

 

When left untreated, TMJ disorder can wear down your teeth, joints, and bones. It can physically alter your appearance and facial symmetry.

 

When bone loss occurs, the jaw becomes off-balance, which causes teeth to shift out of alignment. The misalignment stresses facial muscles, jaw joints, and tissues in the neck. Uneven teeth cause the jaw to move to one side, creating an asymmetrical face.

 

TMJ disorder also causes excessive contractions within your facial muscles. The tightness can lead to inadequate lymphatic drainage. The poor drainage creates a buildup of toxins that can cause skin conditions like dullness, acne, cellulite, and inflammation.

 

Pay attention to differences in your facial symmetry, teeth alignment, and skin. If you notice unexplained changes, contact a TMJ doctor.

 

5. You’ve Endured Facial Injuries

 

What causes jaw pain? TMJ disorder occurs when the TMJ joint becomes damaged or inflamed.

 

While TMJ disorder can stem from inflammatory diseases or birth defects, the most common culprit behind jaw pain is facial trauma and injuries.

 

If you experience a fall or hit to the face, your teeth can move out of alignment. Improper teeth placement strains the jaw and facial muscles, which can lead to the development of TMJ disorder.

 

To prevent facial injuries that cause TMJ disorder, wear a mouthguard when participating in high-contact sports. After an accident, visit a TMJ doctor or dentist to check for tooth and jaw damage that could lead to TMJ disorder.

 

6. You Have an Open Bite

 

An anterior open bite is a malocclusion that affects teeth alignment. It causes the front lower and upper teeth to slant outward. The slant prevents the teeth from touching when the mouth is closed.

 

Open bites are a common side effect of TMJ disorder.

 

TMJ disorder causes frequent jaw pain. Many people use their tongue to push on their teeth to ease jaw discomfort. The constant pushing can cause the teeth to fall out of alignment, creating an anterior open bite.

 

Open bites can lead to problems with appearance, speech, and eating. An open bite makes the back teeth come together, which increases your risk of fractured teeth.

 

An open bite can be corrected through proper TMJ treatments.

 

7. Your Teeth Hurt

 

Frequent toothaches are a sign of TMJ disorder.

 

The inflamed jaw joints cause facial muscles to tighten. The tightness can create oral pain around the gums and teeth.

 

But, how do you know your toothaches are due to TMJ disorder, and not something else?

 

TMJ disorder causes widespread oral discomfort. It will feel as if your teeth are taking turns hurting. TMJ disorder causes different teeth to ache at various times. It creates severe pain that takes over your entire mouth, which is different than a root canal or cavity.

 

TMJ surgery reconstructs the jawbone and realigns teeth. It reduces stress and tension to eliminate frequent toothaches.

 

TMJ Surgery and Other Health Hacks

 

TMJ disorder is a severe condition. When ignored, it can create widespread pain and discomfort that extends from your teeth to the top of your head.

 

TMJ surgery is available to help patients realign their facial muscles and reduce pain.

 

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