Jaw Pain? 7 Things You Should Know About TMJ Disorder
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is a common dental issue that can cause pain and affect your quality of life. Despite its prevalence, many people aren’t aware of what this disorder looks like and what they can do if they have it.
Here are seven key things you need to know about TMJ disorder.
1. What is TMJ disorder?
TMJ disorder is a condition that affects the joint on either side of the face that allows the lower jaw to move. It’s responsible for biting and chewing, so it can carry considerable force.
A variety of issues can arise within the joint itself and surrounding muscles and ligaments. You might experience a chronic TMJ disorder or only develop symptoms at certain times.
The complexity of the TMJ and surrounding tissue means that a wide range of factors can contribute to TMJ disorder. Similarly, a variety of treatment options may be suitable, depending on the underlying cause of your condition.
2. TMJ disorder is incredibly common.
TMJ disorder is one of the most common dental issues. Studies have shown a range of values for TMJ disorder prevalence. These findings range from 5% to 12% of the adult population in the world.
The condition is more common in young adults. TMJ disorder is also around twice as common in women as it is in men. Additionally, there are a variety of individual risk factors that can increase your chance of developing TMJ disorder.
3. There are many potential TMJ disorder causes.
TMJ disorder can arise from many different causes. Bruxism—grinding or clenching your teeth—is among the most common contributing factors. If you grind your teeth when you sleep, you’re constantly applying pressure to the joint and straining the muscles around it. Stress is also a common factor for the same reason.
The TMJ is a complex joint with a ball and socket on each side of the jaw and a disc between each ball and socket. Dislocation can occur, causing pain and difficulty chewing. You can also experience arthritis in the TMJ, like any other joint.
Physical trauma can damage the TMJ and cause TMJ symptoms. Misaligned teeth and bite issues can contribute to the condition as well, as they place irregular strain on the joint when your upper and lower teeth don’t come together correctly.
4. Watch for these TMJ disorder symptoms.
You can watch out for some of these common TMJ Disorder symptoms to determine whether it’s time to reach out to your dentist. There is a significant overlap between TMJ Disorder symptoms and issues caused by other dental problems. In any case, you should visit your dentist if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms.
- Aching jaw pain
- Sharp jaw pain when chewing
- The sensation of ear fullness
- Neck or shoulder pain
- Difficulty opening your mouth
- Your jaw locking open or closed
- Popping, clicking, or grating sounds when opening or closing your mouth
- Swelling on the side of your face
Identifying these symptoms and visiting your dentist for a diagnosis can help you find lasting relief from TMJ disorder.
5. Changing habits can help improve TMJ Disorder.
In some cases, changing your habits can help alleviate symptoms related to TMJ disorder. Reducing stress or finding effective ways to manage it is often very helpful. Avoiding particularly chewy foods can help as well, especially if you frequently chew gum.
Jaw exercises are often recommended in cases of TMJ disorder. Depending on the cause of your TMJ disorder, regular jaw exercises can help alleviate pain and stiffness related to the condition. In any case, it’s best to reach out to your dentist if you’re concerned about TMJ disorder.
6. Effective TMJ Disorder treatments are available.
If you experience TMJ disorder, you can visit your dentist to find effective treatment. They can identify underlying factors and provide options to treat the root cause. If you have misaligned teeth or bite issues, options such as Invisalign may be able to provide relief, along with addressing other areas of your oral health.
For individuals who grind their teeth, a nightguard can be an effective solution. A custom-made mouth guard will prevent grinding overnight and hold your jaw in a position that doesn’t strain your TMJ.
Additionally, botox can relax the jaw, helping to relieve the muscle tension and pain that often accompany TMJ disorder.
7. You need a dentist who can handle TMJ Disorder.
Most importantly, you need to make sure that the dentist you choose to visit has the skills and experience to handle TMJ disorder. Find a dentist who can provide a range of treatment options and can work with you to eliminate TMJ disorder symptoms.
Find relief for your TMJ Disorder in Corpus Christi, TX.
If you are experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder, turn to Orchard Dental Associates to find effective, high-quality treatment in a state-of-the-art environment. We can evaluate your condition to identify underlying causes and provide relief.
Schedule your appointment with the best family dentist in Corpus Christi today to get started.