Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

TMD or more commonly known as TMJ, is a condition that affects a person’s temporomandibular joint.This joint attaches your skull to your jawbone. TMJ can create myofascial pain (pain when pressure is placed on muscles around the jaw) or internal joint derangement (such as a dislocated jaw). Here is a closer look at the joint disorder and how it can be treated:

Causes:

TMJ disorder varies from person to person. It is not easy to pinpoint an exact cause of cause of TMJ disorder. One of the main factors that could possibly cause TMJ disorder is stress. As learned from our previous blog, stress can cause people to clench their teeth and unknowingly grind their teeth at night (tooth bruxism). In turn, this can place an immense amount of pressure on your jaw and facial muscles, which can harm your temporomandibular joint. Arthritis, trauma to your face or mouth (injury from sports), and jaw misalignment may also affect the temporomandibular joint.

Symptoms and Treatment:

TMJ disordercan affect one or both of your temporomandibular joints. You may experience jaw or facial discomfort upon movement, ear pain, and jaw locking (making it difficult to open your mouth). You may also experience headaches, and neck/shoulder pain.

TMJ can be treated at home. If you know you have TMJ, it is best to keep careful watch on your oral habits. Be wary about clenching your teeth during the day and to wear a mouth guard at night if you grind your teeth. Additionally, avoid chewing on hard foods, place an ice pack on your jaw or face when you feel pain, and take over-the-counter medications (such as ibuprofen) to help ease the aches. On the other hand, some people may need to rectify the issue and relive jaw pain with surgeries such as jaw joint replacements.

At Premier Dental Associates, our patients’ health is our number one priority! If you feel any jaw, ear, or facial discomfort, please call us a 212-587-0202. We are always here for you!