Your Walnut Creek TMJ dentist can find the underlying cause of concerning symptoms
Neck pain is a common experience for many people. Often, pain in the neck and shoulders can reach a point where activities are affected due to discomfort. Finding the cause of neck pain may seem simple, but this condition, as well as headaches, earaches, and pain in the different parts of the face may all be caused by a problem in the jaw. At the back of the jaw, on each side, is a temporomandibular joint. This pair of joints works in unison, facilitating speech, chewing, and more. Faced with undue stress, the temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, can become dysfunctional.
Dysfunction in the TMJs can create a complex set of problems – a domino effect. This is possible because the joints at the back of the jaw are connected to muscles and ligaments that wrap around the head and neck, as well as the face. The intricate nature of the overall structure of the head and neck can make it difficult to diagnose when the underlying cause of discomfort is the jaw. Typically, an association between head and neck pain and TMJ Disorder is not obvious. Your Walnut Creek TMJ dentist, Dr. Alkhoury, can help you discover if the jaws are the cause of pain.
One of the factors that a dentist checks with TMJ disorder is how the jaw is positioned when closed. Often, when the jaw does not close evenly, the subsequent malfunction places excessive stress on the overall jaw structure. The impact of the malfunctioning bite extends to the muscles and ligaments attached to the TMJs, which reach all the way around the neck and into the shoulders.
The stress on these muscles comes from their constant attempt to create functional chewing. As the muscles of the head and neck are responsible for supporting good posture in the upper body, their fatigue is felt in various areas not often associated with the jaw.
Most often, people think that TMJ will make it difficult to chew, or that they will hear a popping sound when they move their jaw. TMJ Disorder can produce a host of symptoms that are quite concerning, such as:
- Chronic pain in the neck and shoulder area
- Chronic headaches, even migraines
- Pain or ringing in the ears, or diminished hearing
- Numbness or tingling in the arms and fingers
- Sensitivity in the jaws or teeth
- Pain when chewing or speaking
- Limited range of motion, or locking of the jaw
Finding the cause of head or neck pain will lead to effective treatment, which can greatly improve your quality of life. Contact Brentwood Family Dental to determine if TMJ is behind your pain.
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