Can TMJ Dysfunction Affect the Entire Body?

August 29, 2022 3:42 pm

Illustration of a brunette woman cringing in pain and touching her jaw due to TMJ pain, cracking, and dysfunction

Put her fingers in front of your ears on both sides of your face. Slowly open and close your mouth a couple of times. Now slide your jaw from side to side. Do you feel the bony bulge against your fingers as your jaw moves? The reason you can make those movements is because of something called your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ for short. When that joint isn’t working properly, it makes it difficult and even painful to move your jaw. And because everything in our body is connected, difficulty moving your jaw can cause ripple effects that contribute to other issues in your body.

Where You Can Feel TMJ Dysfunction

The jaw is the main area where you’ll feel the effects of TMJ disorder, or TMD. This can result in poor nutrition, headaches, low-quality sleep, and anxiety when smiling, talking, singing, and laughing. Patients dealing with TMJ disorder can also experience pain that radiates to their neck, back, and shoulders. This is because your muscles are forced to overcompensate due to tightness and tension in your jaw, causing additional strain in your upper body. It’s also possible that inflammation resulting from TMD can lead to earaches and discomfort around your eyes.

Other Effects of TMJ Disorder

Aside from those areas mentioned above where you might feel discomfort or pain, TMJ disorder can have other unpleasant physical effects. For example, if your jaw is not balanced correctly, it can change the position of your bite and tongue, negatively affecting your airway and how much air gets to your lungs. TMJ disorder can also cause dizziness, which can bring on nausea or actual vomiting.

TMD Treatment

We know that none of this sounds like something you want to experience, which is why it’s important to get treated as soon as possible by a healthcare professional, like Dr. Jay, if you experience jaw pain. Don’t wait for the pain or dysfunction to worsen to get help. As part of our comprehensive dental services, we offer orthodontics and treatment for TMJ dysfunction at Serene Dentistry in McKinney, TX. So if you think you have an issue with your temporomandibular joints, please contact us today to schedule a consultation!

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TMJ pain image from Authority Dental under CC 2.0

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