Tingling sensations and numbness can be symptoms of serious medical conditions like diabetes, but some people seek medical treatment for numbness or tingling in hands or arms only to be told that the symptoms are idiopathic, meaning that doctors do not know the cause.
When your doctor can’t determine the cause of these symptoms, a trip to the dentist might undercover the source of the problem.
TMJ and your nerves
TMJ disorder is a common condition that is caused by problems with the alignment of the teeth or the structure of the jaws. Sometimes people can get it simply because their jaw joints have become sensitive and overworked.
Since the nerves that supply sensation to your face are part of a very complex system, TMJ disorder can trigger pain all through the face and head, and sometimes even in other parts of the body. The nerves in our bodies are like a complicated computer network, and pain triggers sometimes get routed to places they aren’t meant to be. So as strange as it may seem, tingling in your arms could originate from somewhere else; even your jaws.
Diagnosing TMJ disorder
Dentists are often best able to diagnose TMJ disorder. In some cases doctors often overlook it, while dentists are experts in the problems of the mouth and jaws. Some other TMJ symptoms include:
- jaw pain
- difficulty opening and closing the jaws
- jaw popping sounds and facial pain
Pain that goes down the spine or into the arms or legs and does not have any other apparent cause might be related to TMJ disorder.
Treatment for TMJ
Most TMJ treatment is non-invasive, meaning that it does not make permanent changes to the jaws. It usually consists of pain relief in addition to a dental appliance called a splint. A splint is a mouthpiece that gently guides the jaws into proper position to relief stress.
Using a splint can relieve pain and other symptoms of TMJ. In cases where a bad bite or misaligned teeth are a contributing factor to TMJ symptoms, correcting these dental issues may help to eliminate TMJ symptoms.
Find out more about TMJ
Numbness or tingling in hands or arms may seem unlikely to be a dental problem, but if you have received a diagnosis of idiopathic neuropathy or a doctor has told you they simply don’t know what the cause is, please schedule a consultation.
If you have other nerve symptoms like pain in the shoulders or spine or if you have frequent headaches, a dental examination could help to uncover the cause.