Are you experiencing ongoing pain or discomfort in your jaw? You may have TMJ, which is characterized by difficulty opening and closing your mouth, headaches, earaches, facial pain, and jaw stiffness. According to Scientific Reports, approximately 10 to 15% of the general population is affected by TMD. However, jaw pain and related disorders don’t automatically mean you should see a TMJ specialist. Here are some other problems that may mimic the symptoms of a TMJ disorder.
Arthritis is a common inflammatory disease many Americans suffer from. It affects the joints and can damage them over time. It can affect any joint in the body, including the jawbone. This means you can have arthritis in that area that results in swelling, stiffness, and a reduced range of motion. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can often be mistaken for TMJ.
2. Sinus Issues
Now that winter is almost here, you may have sinus issues. A sinus infection can occur when you have an inflammation in the air-filled cavities behind your forehead, cheeks, or nose. This condition can even cause a headache, as well as facial pressure and pain. Sinus issues can even radiate all the way to your upper jaw and teeth. It may get so bad you may be tempted to call a TMJ specialist, but TMD is a different issue entirely.
3. Abscessed Tooth
Dental problems, such as an abscessed tooth, can be mistaken for a TMJ disorder. An abscess happens when a bacterial infection occurs inside your gums or teeth. This often shows up by way of swelling and redness. It can often result in severe pain that can keep you up at night. An untreated abscessed tooth can continue to spread pain into your neck, jaw, and ear.
Do you sometimes feel pain and tenderness throughout your body? If so, you may have fibromyalgia, which can create sleep problems, fatigue, and mood swings. This widespread pain can occur in any part of your body, such as your jaw, nerves, and muscles. When the jaw pain associated with fibromyalgia hits, it can easily resemble a TMJ disorder.
You don’t have to live with the ongoing pain of a TMJ disorder or the above issues. If you’re having unexplained pain in your jaw area, it’s always best to consult with a TMJ specialist for treatment or to rule out the disorder. For more information, contact TMJ Care for a consultation.