TMJ, also known as TMD, is known as temporomandibular joint disorder. TMJ happens when the temporomandibular joint becomes damaged in some way. This joint, which can be found in front of your ears, is important because it connects the mandible (lower jaw) and the temporal bone. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to speak, chew, or even yawn properly. The TMJ joint gives you the ability to move your mouth smoothly in various positions, such as back and forth and side to side.
TMJ can be caused by a variety of factors, such as stress placed on the surrounding areas of the joint. Stress can negatively impact areas such as the joint, jaw, face, neck, and teeth. If the jaw becomes injured due to an oral injury, it may also cause TMJ symptoms. Genetic factors, where people may be born with jaw misalignment issues, can also cause TMJ symptoms. Although there is no specific cause for TMJ, it is believed to be more common in adult women.
TMJ symptoms can vary from person to person, however, common symptoms include:
- Headaches and migraines
- Ear pain or ringing in the ears
- “Locked jaw” such as when your jaw temporarily locks up and can’t move
- Difficulty chewing, yawning or opening your mouth
- Popping or clicking sounds in the jaw area
- Teeth grinding that places pressure on your chewing surfaces, jaw, and face
- Bone disease can negatively impact your bone tissues
If TMJ symptoms are persistent, you should visit your dentist for an examination. TMJ can be caused by any number of factors so we have to examine your symptoms, review your oral and medical history, and have a complete understanding of your lifestyle. Once we have come up with a proper diagnosis, we can create a personalized treatment plan for your TMJ. Treatments may include medication, wearing a night guard, and relaxation exercises to ease tense muscles and joints.
Contact your Dentist in Forest Hill, Dr. Paul Deratnay, to set up an appointment today.