Tingling and Numbness in the Face

Some people experience tingling and numbness in their face related to TMJ. This is usually caused by pressure on the branches of the trigeminal nerve by jaw muscles or components of the displaced jaw. 

There are three main branches of the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensations from most of the face. The ophthalmic branch carries sensations from the upper face, including the eyeball, nose, eyelids, and forehead. The maxillary nerve carries sensations from your cheeks and upper teeth, as well as the lower part of the nose. The mandibular nerve takes sensations from the lower part of the face, including the jaw and tongue. 

Pressure on the nerve may be constant or intermittent, depending on the cause. If pressure is caused by a tumor (which is usually benign), it’s likely to be more constant. Tingling and numbness caused by TMJ is more likely to be intermittent and recurring. 

Of course, nerve pressure can also be linked to pain. Pressure on these nerves can cause a shooting, electric pain in these areas. And pressure on some of these nerve branches is linked to migraines. 

Tingling and Numbness in the Hands

How does a jaw disorder cause tingling in your hands? It’s due to the interconnectedness of the body. 

Jaw imbalance can cause the body to recruit muscles in the head and neck to help jaw muscles. Or muscles in the neck and shoulder might have to work harder to support the head because of jaw imbalance. This not only leads to neck and shoulder pain, it can cause the vertebrae of the neck to tilt. Then the vertebrae of the back also tilt, often in the opposite direction, to maintain balance. As the vertebrae tip, it narrows the space for nerves to emerge between the bones. This leads to pressure on the nerves, which causes tingling or numbness

It’s important to eliminate other potential causes of tingling and numbness, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and diabetic neuropathy, before considering TMJ as a potential cause. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when nerves experience pressure in the carpal tunnel, the narrow path through the wrist to the hand. Injured or irritated tendons swell and restrict the space. You can distinguish carpal tunnel syndrome from TMJ-related numbness by the affected areas. Carpal tunnel syndrome numbs the palm, middle finger, index finger, and thumb, while TMJ-related numbness usually affects the palm, little finger, and ring finger.

Diabetic neuropathy is when diabetes causes nerve damage, starting in your peripheral nervous system. Most people experience symptoms in the feet first, but it can also start in the hands. Talk to your doctor about diabetes to eliminate this possibility. 

Treatment in Fort Atkinson

If you experience tingling and numbness that you think might be related to TMJ, we can help. Please call (920) 563-7323 today for an appointment with TMJ dentist Dr. Stafford at Bite Align, serving all of Jefferson County from Fort Atkinson.