There is a joint in your jaw that acts as a sliding hinge. It connects the jawbone to the skull. It is called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). You have one of these joints on each side of your jaw.
When there is a TMJ disorder, it can be referred to as TMD. It could result in you experiencing pain in the muscles controlling your jaw movement as well as the jaw joint itself and more.
Determining the Cause
When a person is experiencing a TMJ disorder, it can be a challenge to determine the cause. The pain they are experiencing could be the result of a combination of factors. These could be everything from an undetected jaw injury, genetics, arthritis and more. It is common for individuals who have jaw pain to regularly grind or clench their teeth. This is known as bruxism.
Some of the symptoms for TMJ disorder include:
- Tenderness or pain in the jaw.
- The joint locks making it very difficult for a person to open or close their mouth.
- There could be pain experienced in each of the temporomandibular joints or just one.
- Experiencing aching facial pain.
- Aching pain in and around one or both of a person’s ear.
- Experiencing pain when chewing or having difficulty chewing.
A person with a TMJ disorder could also experience a grating sensation or clicking sound when they chew or open their mouth. Should there not be any pain experienced, or a limitation of jaw movement, a person may not need to seek treatment for a TMJ disorder.
The TMJ joint works with a sliding motion and hinge action. The parts of the TMJ bones are covered with cartilage. A small shock-absorbing disk is in place to separate them. All of this usually works together to keep the jaw movement smooth and easy.
There are many situations that can cause a TMJ disorder including:
- A person experiences a blow or other impact to their jaw and it is damaged.
- The disk moves out of proper alignment or it could also erode over time.
- Arthritis to the TMJ cartilage causes damage.
Some of the risk factors for TMJ disorder include:
- There are certain connective tissue diseases that could cause a person to develop a TMJ disorder.
- Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid and other types of arthritis can increase the chances of developing some type of TMJ disorder.
- People who experience chronic clenching or grinding of their teeth have an increased chance of developing a TMJ disorder.
- Any type of injury to a person’s jaw can cause the development of a TMJ disorder.
TMJ can can also cause symptoms that disrupt daily life. If this is the case, it’s important that you seek immediate medical attention.
Some of these symptoms include:
- A person is unable to completely open or close their jaw.
- There is persistent pain or tenderness in a person’s jaw.
- Eating, sleeping or speaking has become difficult.
If you’re unsure if you have TMJ, it’s best to consult a medical professional. A medical professional can not only properly diagnose the condition, but they can also discuss treatment options.
Contact AZ-TMJ Today
If you’re experiencing TMJ symptoms, call Dr. Farrell for a consultation at 480-945-3629 today. He can diagnose you TMJ disorder, as well as provide effective treatment to eliminate symptoms.