Symptoms and Causes of TMJ Disorder By Craig Goldin DDS on January 30, 2012

Many people may suffer from TMJ disorders but don’t even realize it. The TMJ is the temporomandibular joint, the juncture between the skull and the mandible. It’s one of the most complex parts of the body, and hence is prone to problems every now and then. These disorders can also be referred to as TMD or simply TMJ. A Troy cosmetic dentist will determine your candidacy for treatment, examining all of the symptoms of your case.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

Symptoms of TMJ disorders can vary wildly and occasionally be very complicated; however, most are fairly simple. Usually, a patient will experience symptoms involving more than one element of TMJ disorders: nerves, tendons, ligaments, connective tissue, muscles, and teeth. Ear pain is also somewhat common, particularly when it’s linked to proximal tissue. It’s important to report any symptoms to our Troy cosmetic dentistry team.

More specifically, common symptoms include the following:

  • Pain in the face, jaw, neck and shoulders, and in the ear when chewing, speaking, or trying to open your mouth open particularly wide
  • The inability to open your mouth wide
  • A jaw that gets “locked” in a clenched position
  • Clicking, popping, and grating sounds when opening and closing your mouth
  • A strained or tired feeling in the face
  • Difficulty chewing, or feeling as if the upper and lower teeth do not fit together
  • Swelling in and around your face

Causes of TMJ Disorders

Before considering the various dental care procedures that can address your problems, we must first note the cause of the TMJ disorder.

The most common cause of TMJ disorders is called bruxism, which is simply a repetitive clenching and/or grinding of teeth, particularly at night. Over-opening and shifting of the jaw either sideways or forward can also contribute to the development of TMJ disorders. Both of these affect the cartilage and small disk between the jaw joints, and TMJ disorders can occur if and of the following are experienced:

  • The disk is moved from its proper place, or just completely erodes
  • The cartilage is affected by arthritis
  • The joint experiences a traumatic blow or injury
  • The joint muscles become overworked, which is a direct result of clenching and/or grinding your teeth
  • Excessive gum chewing and/or nail biting
  • Lack of overbite

People who have rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or sleep disorders are also at risk for developing TMJ disorders. You are also more prone to developing a TMD if you were born with a facial deformity that affects your overall jaw functionality.

Treatments for TMJ Disorders

There are many options for Troy TMJ disorder treatment to consider. Most common treatments include the use of a bite guard which is worn at night in order to reduce grinding. Orthodontic treatment is also a possibility, and surgery is not out of the question for serious cases of TMD.

It’s important that we meet with you in person in order to determine the best one for your needs. Ideally we want to identify the root cause of your TMJ disorder and then specifically address it. Doing so will reduce the symptoms you experience

Learn More About Your Options

For more information about TMJ disorders and the various treatment options to consider, it’s important that you contact our Troy cosmetic and restorative dentistry practice today. The entire team is eager to meet you in person.

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