You probably wouldn’t visit a doctor for a headache, unless it was severe and recurred frequently enough to cause you worry. Yet, many people who do seek medical help for chronic severe headaches, earaches, facial soreness, or other craniofacial discomfort continue to experience trouble even after their doctor visits, still unsure of its cause. Others, however, are surprised to learn that the source of their chronic discomfort lies with a dental issue that affects their mouth’s proper function. Dr. Ciro Cabal, dedicated Lake Worth orthodontist, understands that the discomfort of TMJ disorder can often be confusing, and today he explains how a jaw dysfunction can lead to pain in many other areas of your head and neck.
TMJ Disorder and the Trigeminal Nerve
TMJ disorder borrows its name from your jaw’s joints, called the temporomandibular joints (or TMJs). Located in front of each ear, your TMJs connect your lower jaw, called a mandible, to the temporal bones in your skull. Along with the muscles that surround them, these joints are responsible for your jaw’s diverse range of movement and are work best when perfectly aligned. Unfortunately, a wide range of conditions, such as facial trauma and malocclusion (crooked teeth), can disturb your bite’s alignment, placing an undue amount of stress on your jaw’s muscles and joints as they struggle to keep your mouth straight. The tension can damage these mechanisms, as well as your trigeminal nerve, which innervates your jaws and the majority of your craniofacial structure.
The trigeminal nerve is one of twelve sets of cranial nerves that account for 80% of the sensory input to your brain. As the name suggests, the nerve has three branches that extend outward into various areas of your head, face, mouth, and neck. When TMJ disorder causes a disturbance to the nerve, the discomfort can be transmitted throughout its branches, accounting for a variety of symptoms that may be seemingly unrelated to your dental health.
Lake Worth Orthodontics for Improved Jaw Function and Pain Relief
In many cases, treating the conditions behind your TMJ discomfort is the only way to find relief. For instance, if your jaws are overstressed due to malocclusion, then orthodontic treatment may be necessary to realign your bite for optimal function. To learn more, or find out if orthodontic treatment can help relieve your jaw pain, call Lake Country Orthodontics today at (817) 236-7846 and schedule a consultation with your Lake Worth orthodontist. Located in the 76179 area, we proudly serve families from Azle, Saginaw, Springtown, Weatherford, Haslet, Lake Worth, and all surrounding communities.