Dr. Benjamin Polan faces off with TMJ facial pain in Beverly, MA
TMJ can cause facial pain
Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint formed when your lower jaw bone fits into a shallow basin at the base of your temporal bone, allowing you to open and close your mouth. Many of us are aware that a misaligned TMJ can give us headaches, but it’s connection to the rest of the body can cause numerous other symptoms, especially pain around the facial area.
How is this facial pain caused?
Cranial nerve number seven (CN VII) is your Facial Nerve protruding from a tiny opening in the base of your skull located very near to the TMJ. It then sends branches to the muscles of your face that allow you to make different facial expressions, such as frowning, smiling and laughing. It also sends signals to the glands that form tears, your salivary glands, and the roof of your mouth and tongue.
Since CN VII also carries inward bound sensory information back to the brain, it carries pain signals, information about taste, and information about the position of your tongue and jaw back to the brain.
Dr. Benjamin Polan from Beverly, MA tells us the classic example of pain associated with the CN VII is Bell’s Palsy, in which infection by the Herpes Simplex virus causes inflammation of the facial nerve, which may lead to drooping eyelids, sagging jaw, loss of the sensation of taste and constant formation of tears on the affected side of the face. This may be accompanied by terrible pain if something even lightly touches the area.
Since the CN VII leaves the skull so near to the TMJ, problems with misalignment of the TMJ can lead to symptoms such as a terrible toothache or earache, or just general facial pain on one or both sides of the face. A TMJ dentist can help to diagnose your TMJ facial pain and take steps to correct the problem.
Treat the cause, not the symptoms
Dr. Benjamin Polan specializes in dental procedures for a variety of conditions in his office in Beverly, MA. His staff provide a warm, caring atmosphere in which you can feel comfortable and safe while being treated, and he has successfully treated many patients who experience facial pain due to underlying TMJ problems.