TMJ Disorder, also known as Temporomandibular Disorder or TMD, is pain in your jaw joint and the muscles that control your jaw movement. They affect the facial muscles that help you perform basic functions, such as chew. TMJ Dysfunction can lead to continuous pain and discomfort if left untreated.
The temporomandibular joint is a hinge that connects your jaw bone to your skull. Pain may occur when opening and closing your mouth. Often, the jaw pain you experience with TMJ disorder is temporary. For that reason, we encourage patients to contact our Metairie office to schedule an appointment.
Check out this video that provides an overview of the causes, symptoms, and consequences of TMJ disorder.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMD for short, is a condition involving the joints, muscles, nerves, and teeth involved with jaw movement. It could be related to one or all components. When not working harmoniously or in sync, or the chewing system is improperly aligned, a variety of signs or uncomfortable and potentially painful symptoms may result for patients.
The temporomandibular joint is the complex hinge that joins your lower jaw and skull together. It works similarly to a ball and socket, but also has the unique ability to glide forward via a series of muscles, ligaments, and fibrous tissues all working together.
Many factors can contribute to the development of TMD, including misalignment of the jaw and the way teeth touch, tooth clenching or grinding, arthritis, and posture issues. Anxiety and stress have also been shown to be related to TMD issues.
These factors may lead to inflammation of the joint and/or surrounding tissues, oftentimes triggering the connected pain receptors throughout the head, neck, and face. Common symptoms include jaw pain or soreness extending through the face and neck, jaw clicking or popping, restricted jaw movement or locking, sensitive teeth, loose teeth, irregular or excessive tooth wear, earaches, and headaches, amongst others.
The wide range of possible resulting symptoms is what has historically made correctly diagnosing TMD challenging. If your doctor suspects TMD might be an issue, they will perform a thorough physical examination of the area and overall chewing system evaluating your jaw movement and noting any related tenderness or discomfort. Oftentimes they will also take diagnostic images to aid the fact-finding process.
There are a variety of treatments available to assist with properly diagnosing and alleviating some or all TMD discomfort, depending on the nature and severity of the issues causing it. It is important to work closely with your doctor to create a treatment plan that best meets your unique needs.
When the jaw has to compensate for imbalance or the effects of damage to the joint, the resulting stress can cause grinding or clenching. Eventually, patients may have trouble opening or closing their mouth completely, and their bite may feel off. Continued strain on the joint and surrounding muscles can cause pain that is closely associated with frequent headaches and other symptoms.
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