TMJ disorders cause tenderness and pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This is the joint on each side of your head in front of your ears, where your lower jawbone meets your skull. This joint allows you to talk, chew and yawn. Between 5 and 15 percent of people in the United States experience pain associated with TMJ disorders. In most cases, pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders can be alleviated with self-managed care or nonsurgical treatments, but more-severe cases may need to be treated with dental or surgical interventions.
What is TMJ Disorder?
Two joints and several jaw muscles are utilized when the mouth is opened and closed. These structures work in perfect unison every time you chew, speak or swallow. This assembly consists of muscles, ligaments, the jaw bone, and the lower jaw connected by two joints called the TMJ’s.
These TMJ joints that connect the lower jaw on each side of your head can make a wide array of movements needed for both “up and down” movements used in speaking and “rotational and gliding” movements used for chewing. Several muscles control these movements and each joint is cushioned by a disc in the socket of the jaw bone to allow full mobility.
As you can see, many delicate parts are vital to the action of opening and closing the mouth. Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs, and bones from performing correctly may result in discomfort and pain known as TMJ disorder.
What Are The Symptoms Of TMJ Disorder?
Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders may include:
- Pain or tenderness of your jaw
- Aching pain in and around your ear
- Difficulty chewing or discomfort while chewing
- Aching facial pain
- Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
- Headaches or neck aches
How Do I Know If I Have TMJ Disorder?
TMJ Disorder is often diagnosed when your dentist or a TMJ specialist performs exams and the appropriate x-rays in order to identify the source of the pain. Your pain or discomfort could be the result of sinus trouble, a toothache, or the early stages of periodontal disease. However, if more serious, the pain could be related to facial muscles, the jaw, or the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and live in the NYC area, make an appointment with Dr. Mishaan, or find another TMJ specialist in your area as soon as possible. Seeing a specialist is always the best way to confirm whether or not you have a TMJ Disorder.
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorder can be caused by arthritis, injury, improper bite, stress, or a long list of other factors. Working with a qualified dentist to receive the proper exams and x-rays can help you identify the source of pain and possible cause of your TMJ case.
Treatment of TMJ is often based on the cause. Once your dentist locates the problem, they will work with you to lay out a treatment plan. Treatments for this pain may include stress reducing exercises, muscle relaxants, or wearing a mouth guard to prevent teeth grinding. Your dentist will recommend what type of treatment is needed for your particular problem or recommend that you be referred to a specialist.