The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that connects the upper and lower jaws can become damaged due to a number of causes, including external impact or internal factors such as poor occlusion, arthritis, imbalance, or simple overuse. When this joint is not operating properly and causing discomfort or pain, the condition is referred to as TMJ disorder, or TMD.
TMD can make simple tasks such as eating or speaking difficult or painful. Symptoms of TMD can vary among individuals with the condition, but some of the more commonly experienced effects include:
- Popping or clicking when moving the jaw joint
- Periodic locking or “sticking” of the jaw
- Difficulty chewing
- Difficulty opening the mouth wide
In addition, TMD can cause you to experience significant discomfort or pain that can extend beyond the jaw joint itself. Patients with TMD may experience facial pain or swelling; pain or tenderness in the neck, shoulders, or jaw; headache; ear ache; ringing in the ears; or dizziness. Depending upon their severity, these symptoms can significantly impact your quality of life. Prompt treatment of TMD can prevent these symptoms from worsening and restore comfortable, normal function to your jaw.
A skilled dentist can check your jaw and neck for signs of TMD during your routine oral exams. Patients who are diagnosed with TMD have a number of treatment options available, including changes in diet, medication, physical therapy, or wearing a custom bite guard while you sleep. If you believe you may be suffering from TMD, or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.