Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ or TMD) can cause a wide variety of symptoms in sufferers, and we’re not sure why they vary so greatly. As baffling as the wide array of symptoms that TMJ can cause is the fact that some people experience fewer or reduced symptoms. We’ve already talked about how some people get TMJ without jaw popping or clicking. But some people even experience the condition without pain.
People are tempted to think this means their jaw problem isn’t serious, but that’s not true. Here’s why you should take TMJ seriously, even if you’re not experiencing jaw pain.
It Could Be Damaging Your Jaw Joint
Just because you don’t feel pain, it doesn’t mean that you’re not experiencing damage to your jaw joint. Displaced cartilage, stretched tendons, and grinding bone don’t necessarily hurt, especially when damage occurs gradually.
Symptoms that could be associated with this include jaw sounds, irregular jaw motion, or limited jaw motion.
It Could Be Damaging Your Teeth
TMJ also commonly results in damage to your teeth as well as your jaw joints. You might not feel the tension in your muscles, but you can see it in the effects it has on your teeth. Teeth will begin wearing down, chip frequently, crack, and may get very sensitive.
In addition, you might experience tooth damage at the gum line with the enamel flaking away. T This is called abfraction, and because it causes redness, irritation, and receding gums, you or your dentist might mistake it for gum disease and decay at the gum line.
You Could Be Feeling the Pain Elsewhere
TMJ can be associated with pain in many places. It could be linked to neck pain, headaches, ear aches, back pain, and more. It isn’t surprising that you might not associate this with your TMJ. In fact, most people with TMJ experience pain in other parts of their body, but don’t report it because they don’t think they’re connected.
The good news is that TMJ treatment can actually help resolve these distant pains because they are are actually connected.
Don’t Wait for the Pain
People are too likely to wait for treatment of any kind until they start to experience pain. Pain is an important signal that you have a condition that needs treatment. However, it’s not the only signal, and the absence of pain shouldn’t make you assume that everything is fine. If you have other TMJ symptoms, you should get checked to see what degree of TMJ you are experiencing and what type of treatment might be appropriate. Otherwise, you might develop pain soon enough, and it might be more serious if you wait to get treated.