There are many reasons that we might have pain in the face and head. If your pain is ongoing and doesn’t seem to respond to any treatment, it might be time to visit your dentist.
The pain might be caused by the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ).
What is TMJ?
To find your TMJ, run your fingers along the upper jawline and stop when your fingers are next to your ear. You’ll be able to feel the joint between the upper and lower jaws. That’s what the TMJ is, the hinge that connects the upper and lower jaw.
Your body moves the TMJ using a complicated mix of muscles and ligaments. These muscles and ligaments can be overworked and injured. The complexity of the system makes it hard to see precisely where the problem is.
We’re not entirely sure of all the causes of disorders of the TMJ. We do know that bruxism is one of the leading reasons.
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is where someone grinds or clenches their jaws together hard. In most cases, people aren’t even aware they’re doing this. You might clench your jaw when anxious or while sleeping. In both cases, you probably won’t realize what you’re doing.
How Important is the TMJ?
The TMJ is critical. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to:
- Open and close your mouth
Do You Have a TMJ Disorder?
That isn’t very easy to say without professional consultation. As mentioned before, pain in the face and head can occur for many reasons. A sinus infection produces similar symptoms, so you have to get an expert diagnosis.
Symptoms that You Should Look Out For
- Pain near or in the ear
- Neck aches
- Sore jaw muscles or jaw
- Pain in the jaw when opening and closing your mouth
- Aching in the facial area
- Difficulty opening or closing your mouth
- Sensitive teeth when you’re otherwise healthy
- Strange noises when moving your jaw
If you suspect that you have a TMJ problem, see your dentist as soon as possible. They can fashion a device to prevent you from grinding your teeth. The earlier that you start treatment, the better – every time you gnash your teeth, you risk damaging them.