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What’s Behind Your TMJ Pain?

October 11, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — drpusksas @ 3:19 am

Woman with hand on face from TMJ painDoes your jaw click or pop when you open or close your mouth? Maybe you have recurring facial or neck pain? You might have a disorder of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). With no treatment, inflammation and stress can lead to significant jaw dysfunction. TMD causes a wide range of symptoms that can affect your quality of life, like facial pain and headaches. Here’s what might be behind your TMJ pain. 

What Is a TMJ Disorder?

Your temporomandibular joints connect your jaw to your skill. They allow you to open and close your mouth and make other movements necessary for your health and wellness. When the joints don’t function properly, it can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Pain, tenderness, or stiffness of the jaw.
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sensations when opening or closing the mouth.
  • Jaw locking into an opened or closed position. 
  • Difficult chewing.
  • Pain in or around the ear.
  • Headaches.
  • Neck or shoulder pain.

Thankfully, your dentist has the solutions you need to improve your TMJ symptoms. They’ll find the cause of your discomfort to create a treatment that’s unique to your needs.

What Causes TMJ Disorders?

There’s no single cause of TMJ disorders. Although accidents and injuries are common culprits, jaw dysfunction can result from:

  • Myofascial Pain: The muscles that control the jaw can be the source of TMD pain, which is often caused by car accidents or whiplash. 
  • Internal Derangement of the Joint: The disc between the skull and lower jaw can be displaced, which is often seen in serious auto accidents.
  • Inflammatory Joint Disease: It is often seen along with arthritis or synovitis.
  • Arthritis: Wear and tear can cause an inflammatory condition, like degenerative, psoriatic, or gouty arthritis. 
  • Synovitis: The synovial membrane lines the point and creates a fluid to keep the area lubricated. Inflammation of the membrane can lead to TMD.
  • Trauma: An injury to the jaw or the muscles that control it can cause a TMJ injury. 
  • Previous Fractures: A previous fracture that never healed correctly can cause stress on the joints and muscles. 
  • Bruxism: Teeth grinding and clenching often go hand in hand with TMJ disorders.
  • Poor Bite: Misaligned teeth can cause uneven pressure on the points.
  • Stress: Stress can make you unconsciously tighten your facial or jaw muscles. Stress is also a common cause of bruxism. 

Your physician, dentist, or ENT doctor can diagnose TMD using various methods, like an MRI, physical examination, or X-rays. 

Stop Your Jaw Pain Today

TMJ therapy doesn’t look the same for everyone because every case differs. Depending on the cause, home exercises, orthodontics, or a nightguard can provide you with the relief you need. Your dentist will create the personalized treatment plan you need to restore your quality of life.

About Dr. Jane C. Puskas

Dr. Puskas achieved her dental degree at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and has completed extensive continuing education in many specialties, like TMJ therapy. She is an active member of various professional organizations, including the American College of Dentists. If you’re ready to stop your jaw pain, contact our office today to request an appointment.

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