TMJ is a common abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint, or the sliding joint that connects the jaw to the skull and allows you to chew, speak and yawn. Unfortunately, this joint also has a tendency to become inflamed, sore and painful. If you’ve ever suffered from TMJ disorder or dysfunction, you know how disruptive it can be to your everyday function and quality of life.
It’s believed that nearly 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ pain While some patients may have temporary flare-ups of TMJ discomfort, others can experience a progression of jaw joint irritation and painful symptoms that worsen without treatment intervention. What may start as a popping jaw when you open wide to yawn can lead to severe migraines, lock jaw and even tooth damage.
If you suspect that your TMJ is irritated or not functioning like it should, you may have TMJ disorder, or TMD. Watch out for the following symptoms and discuss them with your TMJ dentist as soon as possible:
- Earaches (feeling of fullness that may mimic an ear infection)
- Clicking and Popping Sounds (when yawning or chewing certain foods)
- Locked Jaw (making it difficult or impossible to eat or speak at all)
- Jaw Pain or Facial Pain
- Shoulder and Neck Pain
- Changes to Teeth (worn down teeth or chips, especially if bruxism exists)
- Headaches or Migraines
Causes and Treatment of TMD
There are many different factors and conditions that can cause the TMJ to function improperly or become inflamed. Your treatment will be based on your specific culprit. For example, most cases of TMJ disorder can be traced back to teeth grinding or teeth clenching (bruxism). In such patients, a nightguard could eliminate the extra forces of bruxism on the jaw while you sleep and allow your TMJ to rest and heal. In other patients, orthodontic therapy may be warranted to correct a bite misalignment.
At Green Dental of Alexandria, we are committed to finding the cause of your painful jaw symptoms and offering an effective TMJ treatment plan. Don’t ignore a joint in your body that you must use every day. If you are having to modify what you eat or hold back a big yawn, it is time to see a qualified TMJ dentist for help.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Hye Park, Green Dental of Alexandria
Green Dental of Alexandria – Alexandria Dentist
1725 Duke St, Suite GR03
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 549-1725