The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the spot where your upper and lower jaws meet. It’s a complex structure, so problems in this area tend to come in clusters. Facial pain, neck pain, jaw pain, headaches, ear pain, and tinnitus or vertigo are all common symptoms caused by temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD). Because many symptoms of TMJ disorder may be similar to other conditions, it’s important to see a TMJ dentist specialist to understand what’s causing your pain.
Since TMJ is a complex condition with a variety of symptoms, one of these symptoms is eye pain. Before you visit an optical center for eye pain, contact Dr. Feng to learn why it might be TMJ dysfunction instead. With the right treatment, TMJ sufferers can relieve their discomfort.
Because of where the TMJ is located, which is in close proximity to your eyes, a jaw joint dysfunction could be the underlying cause of your eye pain, especially if you exhibit other common TMJ pain symptoms, such as headaches, earaches, neck muscle pain, pain in the jaw joint, and others. Common symptoms of eye pain for people suffering from TMJ disorder.
Here are a few reasons why TMJ disorder can cause eye pain.
If you have a bad bite where your upper and lower teeth do not properly align, it can cause friction in one or both of your joints. If a dysfunction occurs with your TMJ, it can affect the temporalis muscle, irritate, and apply pressure to sets of nerves surrounding your eyes.
Over time, stress and tension can build up in your jaw muscles. Inflammation in the muscles can affect nerve endings and cause pain to radiate throughout your face, head, and neck. The inflammation puts pressure on the trigeminal nerve, sending pain signals affecting certain parts of your body. When this happens, it can cause swelling, throbbing, or pulsating sensation behind your eyes. In some cases, it can also cause blurry vision, eyestrain, watery eyes, and sensitivity to light.
Some people experiencing pain in the eyes may also experience swelling around the eyes or dark circles under the eyes. This results from the muscles blocking the normal drainage creating venous back-ups and the blood not receiving enough oxygen.
Referred pain is when your brain thinks that the pain is coming from one place, but it is coming from another. This happens when your body doesn’t expect the pain to happen in a certain spot, so the brain misinterprets the pain as coming from another part of the body. In situations related to TMJ disorder and eye pain, you experience the pain in your eyes and confirm that the pain is your eyes. But in reality, the source of pain is not your eyes, as it is actually caused by nerve irritation to your trigeminal nerve.
When you experience eye pain, check with your general physician (family doctor) or an ophthalmologist (eye doctor). These professionals can determine if a condition such as glaucoma or conjunctivitis (pink eye) is behind the problem. You should also start to track when your eye pain occurs or gets worse. Does it occur after eating? Or talking often? Such habits may be contributing to the problem without you even knowing it. A condition such as teeth grinding—also known as bruxism—can happen without your knowledge; most people who grind their teeth do so while sleeping.
If you’re able to eliminate other potential eye problems and notice a correlation between jaw activity, TMJ symptoms, and your eye pain, it’s time to see your local dental professionals in Fairview, TX, as you might benefit from correcting a bad bite. Once your bite is corrected for the optimal bite position, your jaw joint, jaw muscles can start to heal and prevent further pain and damage.
If you’re consistently taking pain medication for severe pain and headaches caused by a condition known as TMJ disorder, then it may be time for you to consider taking the next step and visiting your general dentist with experience in TMJ treatment for an evaluation.
We will make sure to first rule out any other potential issues that may be causing your eye pain. After that, we can determine the best option for you. If bite realignment proves to be an issue and can be corrected, TMJ symptom relief may be possible. Call us at 972-468-1440 today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Feng.