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About Your Pain and TMJ

What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is classified as pain that affects an area of your body longer than six months.

What are some signs and symptoms that I might have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)?
Pain in and around the ears, ear stuffiness, limited mouth opening, the lower jaw getting "stuck" on opening or closing, clicking, popping and/or grinding sounds near your ears on opening and closing, headaches, migraines, tenderness in the muscles of the head, face or jaw and bite changes.

What are some diagnostic tools you use to diagnose TMJ dysfunction?
History is often the most important diagnostic tool. We also use a thorough examination, doppler auscultation and very often a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study.

Will I need TMJ surgery?
Surgery is recommended in less than 2 % of TMJ disorder patients. At The Orofacial Pain Center, we use every conservative measure possible to eliminate your discomfort before referring you to an Oral Surgeon for a surgical consult. If surgery is recommended, we will thoroughly discuss options available to you. There have been many positive outcomes for the few patients where surgery was the only option.

What is sleep apnea and how do I know if I have it?
Signs of sleep apnea are loud snoring sounds and episodes where breathing actually ceases for short periods of time. Patients can experience high blood pressure, excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability and weight gain.

What is neuropathic pain?
Neuropathic pain is generally constant, sharp, stabbing, burning, aching and/or electrical type pain in the nose, lips, eyes, ears or teeth. It is usually related to traumatic injury to the nerves that supply those structures. This type of pain can also be called continuous neuropathic pain, episodic neuropathic pain, atypical facial pain, atypical trigeminal neuralgia, atypical odontalgia, sympathetically maintained pain and chronic regional pain syndrome.

What is Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN)?
Typical Trigeminal Neuralgia is characterized by excruciating, intense, lightening strikes of facial pain, typically near the nose, lips, eyes or ears. It is a disorder of the fifth and largest cranial nerve (the trigeminal nerve). Onset of symptoms occurs most often after age 50, but cases are known in children. It can be quite debilitating, but often can be treated.

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