Jaw pain affects millions of people across the United States. One of the common causes of jaw pain is temporomandibular joint dysfunction, known as TMD or TMJ disorder. TMD can affect people of all ages and background, but women are twice as likely to suffer from TMD, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
. Pay attention to red flags that indicate you may have TMD and make an appointment with your dentist for a customized solution.
CAUSES OF TMD
According to the Mayo Clinic
, TMD can come from a number of causes affecting the temporomandibular joint, which connects the jawbone to the skull and “combines a hinge action with sliding motions.” The bone parts involved “in the joint are covered with cartilage and are separated by a small shock-absorbing disk, which normally keeps the movement smooth.”
Problems with the joint occur due to disk damage or misalignment, damage to the joint’s cartilage, or damage from an impact. TMD risk factors include jaw injuries, clenching and grinding of the teeth, arthritis, and some connective tissue diseases.
Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list of TMD’s causes, and other factors may be involved. An examination by a dentist can identify if you have TMD and its underlying cause.
SIGNS OF TMD
Pay attention to pain in the jaw and head for signs that you may have a TMJ disorder. TMD symptoms
- Jaw pain
- Teeth grinding
- Difficulty chewing or opening the mouth
- Pain in your face, neck, and shoulders when you move your jaw.
- Popping and clicking when you open your mouth
- Difficulty or pain moving your jaw
- Earaches, headaches, and dizziness may also be red flags that point toward TMD.
TMD not only causes physical discomfort but can also cause long-term damage. For instance, teeth grinding can wear down the teeth. Headaches and jaw pain may impact your day-to-day focus and prevent you from a full night’s sleep. The temporomandibular joint is involved in everything from talking to yawning to chewing, so any problems that affect it can significantly hamper your quality of life.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT TMJ DISORDERS
Don’t ignore your jaw pain or red flags that point toward TMD! If you are suffering from jaw pain or other TMD symptoms, give us a call at HollowBrook Dental. We provide a customized solution that starts with a 3D Cone Beam Imaging X-ray to examine your jaw. From there, we identify the root cause and create a treatment to solve your jaw pain. Often, the treatment is a non-invasive mouthpiece that realigns the jaw, helps abate symptoms, and encourages healing of the jaw’s muscles.