Did you know that on average 15% of Americans suffer from TMJ Disorder? If you have noticed facial pain located around your jawbone, you too might be one of the many that have to deal with this often painful issue. But, fear not, Franklin Family Dentistry is here to help. Let’s take a look at what TMJ Disorder is, how it can affect you, and how you can manage this common issue.
What is TMJ (TMD)?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joints. These joints are located on both sides of your head. The TMJ joints work in tandem with your muscles, ligaments, and bones to help you to speak, chew and yawn. Basically, anything that is involved with the movement of your mouth.
While most refer to this disorder as TMJ, the proper term is TMD or temporomandibular disorders. This disorder occurs when your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are not working properly.
But, what causes TMJ (TMD)?
No one quite knows the exact cause of TMJ (TMD), many dentists assume it stems from issues with the muscle of the jaw and joint. However, many Americans can increase their risk of this disorder by simple daily habits like grinding or clenching teeth or tightening facial muscles during stressful situations. Other cases occur due to injury or damage to the jaw, neck, or head, arthritis in the joints, or dislocation of the jaw itself.
When these joints are not firing as they should, you can experience a myriad of issues. So, let’s take a look the common symptoms of TMJ Disorder.
TMJ (TMD) Symptoms
Since these joints are located on both sides of your head, you would assume that the pain will be centralized to your jaw. However, the human body is an amazing system of interconnected joints, muscles, bones, and nerves. We’ve compiled a list of common symptoms to look for if you think you might have TMD.
- Pain around your face when chewing, talking, or moving your mouth
- Shoulder or neck pain radiating to the base of your skull or jaw
- Lock jaw
- Inability to open your mouth all the way
- Clicking or popping when opening your mouth
- Discomfort when chewing food
- Swelling on the side of your face
- Hearing loss
As you can see, there many symptoms that stem from this common disorder. Though you can feel the pain or notice when something is off, you are not able to determine what the real root cause can be. It is best that you seek advice and schedule a consultation with your dentist immediately.
To learn more about how you can treat TMJ (TMD) please feel free to contact us.