If you’ve recently felt discomfort in front of your lower ears or experienced strange popping or clicking noises in your jaw, you may have too much tension in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This is a common problem, and is estimated to affect up to 12 percent of people in the United States. While your symptoms may seem minor now, here are three surprising things that can happen if you ignore them and don’t seek treatment.
If you don’t see a dentist for your symptoms, you could potentially experience increasing pain as the muscles and tendons around the jaw joint become more strained. The pain could stay localized around the jaw joint area or it could extend to the inner ears, neck and even the shoulders and back.
Untreated TMJ problems can lead to temporomandibular disorder (TMD). This disorder can cause stiffness and discomfort when you open and close the jaw, which can in turn make it difficult to eat normally. Your jaw may pop, grind or have a limited ability to open widely, which can make it hard to get adequate nutrition unless you see your dentist for treatment.
In extreme cases, you may need surgery to treat TMD, especially if your condition is left untreated for an extended period of time. If you experience lock jaw (when the jaw becomes permanently anchored in a closed or partially open position), surgery may be needed to restore proper function. If possible, it is best to treat your symptoms when they first begin to avoid the need for invasive treatment.
Contact Us Today
If you are experiencing symptoms like frequent tinnitus, strange noises when you move your jaw or unexplainable pain near the jaw joint or ear areas, it’s time to see your dentist. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Richard Howes, call Smiles by Design in Livermore, CA today.