Located in the mouth are two of the most complicated joints in the human body: the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). This joint not only allows the mouth to open, but also for the mandible (lower jaw) to move forward and back, and side to side.
Besides the joints, there are many muscles, ligaments, discs and bones involved in those motions. As time wears on these body parts, sometimes a person can get pain in or near his or her jaw. This pain is called TMJ disorder or TMD.
What are temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and orofacial pain conditions?
A typical temporomandibular disorder (TMD) may involve the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or any of its surrounding soft tissues. Orofacial pain refers to any condition that manifests with pain in the head. Common symptoms include:
- Pain or tenderness of your jaw
- Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints
- Aching pain in and around your ear
- Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
- Aching facial pain
- Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
- atypical tooth pain
- ear pain
- neck pain
TMJ disorders can also cause a clicking sound or grating sensation when you open your mouth or chew. But if there’s no pain or limitation of movement associated with your jaw clicking, you probably don’t need treatment for a TMJ disorder.
When to see a doctor
Seek medical attention if you have persistent pain or tenderness in your jaw, or if you can’t open or close your jaw completely. Dentists at BDC can discuss possible causes and treatments for your problem.
Dentists AT BDC are fully trained in analyzing pain in and around the mouth, and they can determine if it is from a cavity, an oral infection, or TMD. TMD can be caused by a large number of scenarios. It can be from arthritis, an impact injury to the jaw, one’s bite (alignment of teeth), night-time tooth grinding or stress. Sometimes it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of TMD, but there are certain treatments for TMJ problems that can make a huge improvement.
TMJ treatments can include massage in the area of the jaw pain to help loosen up the muscles, in addition to a handling of one’s poor posture – which can lead to misalignment of the neck and back, which are connected to the jaw muscles. If the dentist determines the pain is a result of poor bite/tooth alignment, braces may be used; tooth reshaping is another popular option. Some dentists will provide pain reducing medicine that will temporarily treat the situation. For certain situations, a dentist may recommend a tooth guard to prevent night-time tooth grinding. Depending on the patient’s particular situation, the dentist may recommend a variety of workable solutions.
WE will work carefully and thoroughly with you to find the cause of your TMJ and therefore resolve your situation. In the twenty-plus years of practice he has solved many TMJ problems for his patients.