It is easy to confuse the pain that is caused by TMJ disorders with that of ear pain or chronic earache. Both problems involve the same nerves thus generate pain in similar areas of the face/head.
TMJ disorders can be caused or exacerbated by trauma to the jaw area, arthritis, dental procedures, genetics, hormones, infections, and even auto-immune diseases.
Misalignment or “malocclusion” and clenching or grinding of the teeth as well as stress has shown to exacerbate TMJ symptoms in may patients.
In addition to pain and limited movement in the jaw, problems relating to TMJ have also been known to be a leading cause of neck and shoulder pain, as well as migraine headaches and jaw stiffness.
Mild episodes of TMJ are often successfully treated with the application of ice and moist heat to the effected area.
Those experiencing this type of pain may want to only eat soft foods and limit jaw movements, as such strategies may work well in treating a mild temporary bout of TMJ.
A TMJ doctor should always assess more chronic conditions or dentist who is known to be a specialist in TMJ or TMD, as these doctors can then prepare an individualized treatment plan that is customized to best fit each patient needs.
Orthodontic appliances called “splints” may also be your best form of treatment, as these oral devices can be prescribed even for patients who have severe TMJ dysfunction, who have not found relief from other forms of TMJ treatment. Many patients are surprised to discover that often it is the more conservative treatments that do not require surgery, which lead then to living pain free.
Consulting with a doctor who can offer you non invasive treatment modalities may prove to be the best thing for those who have exhausted seemingly every other option.