The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect your lower jaw to your skull. They allow your mouth to open and close and assist other movements like eating and speaking.
TMD refers to disorders of the temporomandibular joint. TMD disorders can restrict jaw movements and cause pain in the jaw joint and the muscles around it.
The cause of a person’s TMJ disorder is often undetermined. The pain may be due to a combination of factors, such as genetics, arthritis, trauma, or jaw injury. Bruxism or teeth grinding can affect jaw muscles and cause TMJ pain.
Symptoms of TMJ’s disorders:
The symptoms of TMJ disorders depend on the severity and cause of the condition. These symptoms often include:
● Pain in the jaw muscles or jaw joint.
● Jaw stiffness.
● Limited movement or locking of the jaw.
● Painful clicking, popping, or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth.
● Pain that spreads to the face or neck.
● Dental issues, such as the wearing down of teeth.
● A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together.
● Tinnitus (ringing in the ear).
Many temporomandibular disorders last only for a short time and disappear on their own. However, in some cases, they can become long-lasting. Untreated chronic TMJ disorder may cause symptoms to last for months or even years.
Getting a proper TMJ diagnosis
We diagnose TMJ disorders during your dental checkup and work with you to identify the root cause. During your examination we may:
● Ask questions about the nature of pain and its location.
● Examine the range of motion during mouth opening and closing.
● Determine areas of discomfort by pressing around the ear and the joint areas.
● Listen to your jaw for clicking
● Perform several different imaging tests.
Treatment range from home treatments and self-care practices to medications and physical therapy. Once you are diagnosed we will create a custom treatment plan that aligns with your diagnosis. Our main goal is to both relieve the pain and treat the underlying problem that is causing the disorder.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, call us at 828.631.3283 or request one online.
David S. McGuire, DDS