TMJ disorder causes quite the discomfort in many people, over 15% of Americans in fact. Painful and sometimes inhibiting, aches in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) are often a sign of TMJ disorder, or TMD.
The temporomandibular joint is similar to a hinge, which connects your jaw to the skull. When TMD becomes a factor, the resulting pain can become unbearable.
The causes and symptoms of TMD range widely from patient to patient. Fortunately, with the proper examination, diagnosing and treating TMD is well within reach. If you experience pain in the TMJ area, we recommend consulting Dr. Cantwell to find the root of the problem. First, take a more in-depth look at TMD.
What Is TMD?
As mentioned, the cause of TMD starts in the temporomandibular joint. It can affect the joint itself, the jaw muscles, and facial nerves, causing pain in each. There are many factors that contribute to the disorder.
Most often, TMD is caused by an injury to the jaw, joint, or surrounding muscles. For instance, whiplash often causes TMD. Some other causes of the disorder may include any of the following:
- Misaligned jaw.
- Chewing gum.
- Bad posture.
- Stress that causes facial muscles to tighten.
- Clenching and grinding your teeth (bruxism).
Dr. Cantwell can help you determine the likely cause in order to select the most appropriate treatment for your TMD.
Because TMJ disorder can be so painful, common symptoms are usually easily noticed. While the symptoms don’t have to be painful, all of these should be closely monitored and addressed promptly. Take a look at some common symptoms below:
- Pain in the joint.
- Clicking when the jaw opens and closes.
- Pain in the ear.
- Shoulder and neck pain.
- Difficulty with chewing.
- Face swelling.
If you have noticed any of these symptoms, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.
Treating your TMJ Disorder
If you’ve experienced any of the symptoms above, treatment for TMD may be necessary. After consulting with Dr. Cantwell and explaining your symptoms, you may be required to wear a mouthguard or other TMJ appliance. Additionally, there are a number of jaw exercises you can practice to alleviate the pain.