Farmington Hills TMJ Dentist Warns Lyme Disease Symptoms are Similar to TMJ

With the arrival of summer comes a great nuisance: ticks. Dog and cat owners know well the inconvenience of a tick attack, and most humans know to avoid them altogether if possible. What you may not know is the danger ticks pose to yourself as well as your pet. Perhaps the most notorious risk is Lyme disease. The symptoms of Lyme disease include headache, fatigue, and other symptoms similar to temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) , and can easily be confused with the jaw joint dysfunction. Dr. Askari provides further information and warns against misdiagnosis of TMJ based on symptoms.

What is Lyme Disease?

If a blacklegged tick bites a mouse or deer that is infected with Lyme disease, the animal picks up the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi (B. burgdorferi). If the same tick bites you, the bacterial infection may cause Lyme disease. Because blacklegged ticks are almost too small to see, many people with Lyme disease never even noticed a tick on them. There are three stages of Lyme disease. The first stage, or “early localized Lyme disease,” occurs when the infection is not yet widespread throughout the body. First-stage symptoms of Lyme disease usually begin days or weeks after an infection and include body-wide itching, fever, headaches, muscle pain, and stiff neck. If you did notice the tick that bit you, you may have forgotten about it by the time you exhibit symptoms of infection. The delayed reaction is another common cause for misdiagnosis of Lyme disease.

The second stage, or “early disseminated Lyme disease,” includes symptoms such as muscle pain, pain and swelling of the joints (i.e. knees), and heart problems like palpitations (skipped heart beats). Paralysis or weakness of the face muscles is a symptom almost identical to that of TMJ. The third stage, “late disseminated Lyme disease,” brings about abnormal movement and further weakness of the muscles, numbness or tingling, and speech problems.

Are You Sure it’s TMJ?

If left untreated (usually due to misdiagnosis), Lyme disease can lead to long-term complications in your heart, brain, and joints. If you expect you may have TMJ, you should see a medical doctor to rule out the possibility of other medical conditions such as Lyme disease. If Lyme disease is ruled out, than you may suffer from TMJ and should seek treatment immediately. To reserve a TMJ disorder consultation with Dr. Askari, contact our Farmington Hills Dentist office at (248) 474-6434. We serve patients from Chicago, Detroit, Farmington Hills, Dearborn, Livonia, and the surrounding areas.

To learn more, or to schedule an appointment with one of the experts at the Comfort Dental Group, then contact us today by calling our office at (248) 474-6434. We welcome patients living in and around Farmington Hills, Livonia, Novi, Northville, Westland, and Dearborn Heights, MI.


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