You should know what causes TMJ and what are the symptoms, because the temporomandibular joint which is affected, is the hinge that connects the jaw to the bones of the skull, right in front of the ears. This joint is critical because it lets your jaw move up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, and yawn.
If you have problems with your jaw and the face muscles that control it, they’re called temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Many people wrongly call it TMJ, after the joint, but is correctly referred to as TMD.
The exact causes of TMD are unknown. Many dentists believe that TMD symptoms come from problems associated with the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the joint. Sometimes an injury to the jaw, the joint, or the head and neck muscles can lead to TMD. Other possible causes may be grinding or clenching the teeth, movement of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the joint, arthritis in the joint, and stress.
According to WebMD website, TMD can be very painful. It can last a short time or for many years. It could be on one side or both sides of your face. The significance is unknown, but more women than men get it, and people between the ages of 20 and 40.
WebMD suggests if you have TMD you may have these symptoms:
- Pain or tenderness in your face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you speak, chew or open your mouth
- Problems when you open your mouth wide
- Jaws that feel like they get stuck or locked in the open or closed positions
- Grating, clicking or popping in the jaw joint as you close or open your mouth, or chew
- Trouble chewing or a painful bite because the upper and lower teeth do not fit together
- Swelling on the side of your face
- Toothaches, dizziness, earaches, headaches, neck aches, hearing problems, upper shoulder pain, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
To help the pain if you have TMD, you can take medication, use moist heat or cold packs, get dental work to correct a bite problem, eat soft foods or cut food into small pieces, avoid extreme jaw movements, wear a splint or night guard, stop resting your chin in your hand, keep teeth slightly apart, and practice relaxation techniques. There are other options, including surgery.
It’s important to know what causes TMJ and what are the symptoms, so when you have symptoms, McGlone Dental Care in Denver can help you decide if they are related to TMD or other things like tooth decay, sinus problems, arthritis, or gum disease.