The temporomandibular joint is a joint in your face that connects your lower jaw (mandible) to the skull. The TMJ allows the upper jaw to close on the lower jaw and is also one of the most frequently used joints in the body. When the temporomandibular joint is injured or damaged, it often leads to a localized pain disorder known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome or disease. On average, TMJ disorder affects up to 15% of adults, with a peak incidence at 20 to 40 years of age. In this article, we will outline the leading causes and symptoms of TMJ disorders.
1. Jaw Pain
One of the most obvious symptoms of TMJ disorder is jaw pain. More than 90% of TMJ is because of muscle problems that cause different types of pain in the jaw area. Depending on your TMJ condition, the jaw pain may be on one side or both sides of the jaw. Also, depending upon the cause, the pain may occur when chewing or may build up while you’re resting.
Another common symptom of TMJ disorder is sound. Be it unusual popping, clicking, or even a grinding noise that you experience while eating, opening the mouth, or talking are all symptoms of a TMJ disorder. Remember that even under healthy conditions, jaw noises are quite common. So only if you experience these sounds with notable pain or limited jaw movement can it be a symptom of a TMJ disorder.
3. Restricted movement
Another disturbing symptom of TMJ disorders is limited jaw movements that restrict your mouth from being fully opened or the jaw from being moved in different directions – almost like it’s locked. This symptom can cause severe discomforts in daily life, such as eating, chewing, yawning, or speaking.
4. Other symptoms
Some other less common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Neckache and backache
- earaches or buzzing, ringing, or numbness in the ears
- Pain around the ear – and may spread to the cheeks.
- Gum pain
The exact cause of TMJ disorders is difficult to identify or diagnose. The causes of TMJ disorder often are due to a combination of factors such as genetics, hormonal arthritis, or injuries. In some cases, you may also experience TMJ disorders because of environmental or workplace factors. For example, violinists tend to experience TMJ disorders at a higher rate than the general population because their job requires them to hold an instrument under the law- which puts stress on the jaw, thereby causing TMJ disorders.
Some other known leading causes of TMJ disorders include:
- Grinding or clenching the teeth during sleep
- Autoimmune diseases
- Dental surgery
- Gum infections
- Infection of the bone (osteomyelitis).
- Trigeminal neuralgia (an extreme facial pain that sometimes involves the jaw area)
The treatments for TMJ disorders vary based on your condition and the outcome of your diagnosis. Your family dentist can look into the history of your condition and suggest appropriate treatment options that are both safe and effective.
If you’re on the search for a reliable dental clinic to help you with appropriate treatment for your TMJ condition, contact us at American Dental Clinic. We use a special treatment called Kois appliance, one of the TMJ treatment leaders in America. Our team of handpicked dentists will carefully analyze your condition and check if the Kois appliance is suitable for you or recommend effective alternative treatment options.