Here at Wimmer Dental in Centennial, we want to share a little about TMJ and its causes. A lot of people suffer from TMJ or TMD. If you are experiencing facial or jaw pain, perhaps a toothache or issues chewing, you may be wondering whether you have TMJ or TMD.
On either side of your head, there are temporomandibular joints (TMJ). These joints work in conjunction with your ligaments, muscles, and bones. All together, they are what enables you to speak, eat, yawn, chew, and more. Often mistakenly called TMJ, temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are conditions that can cause your temporomandibulars to stop working properly.
According to the American Dental Association over 15% of Americans suffer from TMD that cause chronic facial pain, headaches, earaches, and jaw pain. TMD can be a temporary issue for some but for others, the condition can be long-lasting. Women tend to suffer from TMD more frequently than men. The cause is not clear, though many dentists think that problems stem from the jaw joint or the surrounding muscles. Additionally, TMJ issues are associated with the following:
- Clenching or grinding teeth
- Stress, particularly if you clench your jaw or teeth as a result
- Dislocation of the ball and socket disc
- Rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis of the TM joints
- Jaw, head, or neck injuries
To determine whether you have TMD, your dentist will check your jaw and your bite. You will be examined for jaw tenderness or locking of your jaw. Your dentist may also check for clicking or popping noises which may also be an indication of a TMD. Your dentist may also need to take x-rays. If warranted, you may be referred to an oral surgeon to be treated.
If you suffer from any of the following symptoms, you should see our dentist at Matthew Wimmer Dental serving the Centennial and Littleton areas.
- Neck, shoulder, or facial pain when you chew, talk, or open your mouth
- Trouble or difficulty opening your mouth fully and easily
- Jaw locking
- Grating, popping, or clicking sounds when you open or close your mouth
- Problems when you chew or issues when you bite
- Facial swelling, particularly on the sides of your face
- Headache, toothaches, or neck pain
- Hearing loss, dizziness, or earaches
Your dentist will have recommendations for your TMD that may vary based on your situation. You may need to wear a night guard or a splint. Your bite may need correction or you may have specific teeth that need to be treated. You may be encouraged to eat softer foods, avoid chewing gum, and limit your stress over situations that may prompt you to clench your jaw. Surgery may also be needed, but it should only be a last resort.
Now that you know about TMJ and its causes, contact us here at Wimmer Dental in Centennial to make an appointment. If you are concerned about a potential TMD problem, let us take a look and determine the best course of action to provide you with relief.