Sometimes the true source of your pain isn’t always obvious. For example, if you have been experiencing eye pain recently, your natural assumption is likely that the problem lies in the eyes themselves. In truth, though, there’s a chance that the discomfort is actually linked to a TMJ disorder. Discover why a problem with your jaw may be having an impact on your eyes.
What Exactly is a TMJ Disorder?
TMJ stands for “temporomandibular joint,” which is the name of the joints that allow you to move your lower jaw. Sometimes your TMJ may become injured or strained, resulting in what is known as a TMJ disorder. This condition can make it harder to chew your food, and your jaw may sometimes become stuck in an open or closed position. While TMJ disorder can obviously cause jaw pain, it can also be associated with discomfort in other areas.
How Can a TMJ Disorder Cause Eye Pain?
There are actually a number of reasons why a TMJ disorder might contribute to eye pain. For one thing, there are three nerve branches running through the upper and lower jaws as well as the eye area that are all connected to the trigeminal nerve in the brain. Thanks to these nerves, pain in one area can be sent to others – hence why discomfort in your jaw may end up affecting your eyes.
Additionally, there’s a possibility that TMJ disorder may be causing referred pain in the eye area. Referred pain is where the brain thinks discomfort is coming from the wrong part of the body. This phenomenon tends to occur in cases where the pain is located in an area that doesn’t hurt very often.
What to Do About TMJ Disorder and Eye Pain
A dentist can help you figure out whether a TMJ disorder is to blame for your eye pain. Once they have made a diagnosis, they can help figure out the best way to find relief. If your TMJ disorder is related to bruxism – a condition that causes you to grind and clench your teeth while you’re asleep – they may give you an oral appliance to wear to bed in order to protect your jaw joints. Treating your TMJ disorder should also help the pain around your eyes.
If you are struggling with eye pain and suspect that it may be due to a TMJ disorder, there’s no sense in delaying treatment; reach out to your dentist as soon as possible so that you can get to the bottom of the problem and deal with it properly.
About the Author
Dr. Rob Schumacher went to the University of Kentucky and the University of Michigan for his dental training. He is a proud member of the North Shore Dental Society and the Massachusetts Dental Association. He can help treat TMJ disorder with oral appliances designed to protect the teeth and jaws from bruxism. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Schumacher at Schumacher Dental in Wakefield, visit his website or call (781) 334-3400.