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If TMJ is identified early, we can explain how to avoid any action or habit that might aggravate it, and help find a solution that works to relieve your pain. Call us today! Request An Appointment
Your temporomandibular joint is a hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull, which are in front of each ear. It allows you to move your jaw up and down and side to side so you are able to talk, chew, and yawn. Problems with your jaw and the muscles in your face that control it are known as temporomandibular disorder or TMJ which is named after the joint. Temporomandibular joint disorders are quite common. Women of childbearing years are the most affected, but it can affect men, and children alike.
In many cases the cause of TMJ disorders aren’t always clear or understood. Multiple factors can contribute to the muscle tightness and dysfunction that characterize this condition. It is not clear whether some of these causes directly lead to TMD or if they are a direct result of the disorder itself.
Causes may include:
Some of the risk factors that will increase an individual’s chances of developing TMJ disorder include:
The most common clinical symptoms of temporomandibular disorders include:
Each patient is different and the number, intensity and frequency of TMD symptoms each patient presents with is unique. Acute TMD/TMJ symptoms and signs may last anywhere from a few days to a few week and then disappear after the cause has been resolved. For a chronic TMD/TMJ condition the symptoms can be ongoing with episodes of sharp and/or dull pain that occur over an extended period of time, which can be months to years.
You should call us if you are having jaw joint pain that is severe of it it does not go away. You especially should call if it hurts to open and close the jaw or if you have difficulty swallowing food.
Many other conditions such as tooth decay, sinus problems, arthritis, or gum disease can cause similar symptoms. To figures out what’s causing yours, we will ask about your health history and conduct an exam. We will also:
If we do suspect a problem we may also take a full face x-ray so we can view your jaw, temporomandibular joints, and teeth to rule out any other problems. We may need to do further testing that may include a CT scan or MRI, depending on the severity of the TMD.
Treatment for TMD/TMJ should begin when it is in early stages. If the condition is identified early, we can explain how to avoid any action or habit that might aggravate the joint of facial pain.
Many symptoms of TMD will respond well to home remedies or stress reduction and relaxation techniques. Some home remedies can include:
Home remedies can be a good immediate solution when dealing with the pain right away. However if the pain and discomfort is severe and the home remedies do not bring the relief that is needed then it is time to give us a call. Medical treatment may be necessary. It will not necessarily cure TMD but medical treatment can provide temporary and even long-term relief from the pain symptoms.
TMD is not a life-threatening disorder but if not treated the symptoms can negatively affect your quality of life over time. Your TMD/TMJ may just start out as jaw clicking but over time it may develop in to serious jaw pain. The TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado reported that
"TMJ has also been tied to depression. The findings of a 2012 study indicated that depression and anxiety should be considered risk factors for TMJ, and the chronic nature of TMJ discomfort in many people can gradually impair sleep and mood, and contribute to depression."
Again TMD/TMJ is not a life-threatening situation but an extremely unpleasant and depressing one if left untreated.