If you’re experiencing facial pain, you may question if you have TMJ. If you’ve been identified with TMJ or TMD, you probably understand too well what the symptoms are. In either case, you may want more information about it. What is TMJ exactly, what causes it and how is it detected?
What is TMJ?
First, TMJ or TMD involves the temporomandibular (TM) joints, which lie on each side of your head. These joints work with your muscles, ligaments, discs and bones, enabling you to speak, chew and yawn.
Temporomandibular conditions (TMD) occur when your TMs aren’t working properly. These disorders are frequently erroneously called “TMJ” due to the fact that they include your temporomandibular joints. As you can see in this brief video, your TM joints affect all areas of your face. It’s no wonder they can cause a lot of pain and other issues.
What Causes TMD?
More than 15% of American adults struggle with chronic facial pain, such as jaw pain, headaches or earaches, according to the American Dental Association. TMD is the cause of pain for much of these victims, and more frequently for women than men. A lot of typically occurring in individuals ages 20 to 40, TMD pain and pain might be temporary however it can last for several years.
Although the exact reason for TMD remains uncertain, dental practitioners believe that the symptoms stem from problems with the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the joint itself. Problems with your TM joints can be attributed to:
- Grinding or clenching your teeth
- Stress, if it provokes you to tighten your facial muscles or jaw
- Dislocating the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket
- Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TM joints
- Injury to your jaw, head or neck
To diagnose TMD, your dental expert will check your TM joints for tenderness or pain, try to find a restricted series of motion or locking of your jaw and analyze your bite. She or he will listen for clicking or popping sounds as you move your mouth. And you might need to have actually panoramic x-rays taken. In some cases, your dental expert might refer you to an oral cosmetic surgeon (maxillofacial surgeon) for treatment.
Call your dental practitioner if you struggle with the following symptoms of TMD:
- Facial, neck or shoulder pain when you chew, speak or open your mouth extensively
- Failure to completely open your mouth easily
- Locking of your jaws
- Clicking, popping or grating noises in your jaw when opening or closing your mouth (with or without pain).
- Trouble chewing or discomfort when biting.
- Swelling on the side of your face.
- Toothaches, headaches or neck pains.
- Lightheadedness, earaches or hearing loss.
If you are detected with TMD, your dental expert or oral surgeon might suggest utilizing a splint or night guard, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), restorative treatment of your teeth, trigger-point injections or other kinds of treatment. Because surgery is irreversible, it should be your last resort, and you should get 2 or 3 expert viewpoints before doing it.
On the other hand, to limit any pain in your face and jaw, speak with your dental expert about low-grade pain medications like ibuprofen. Think about eating softer foods as much as possible. Avoid exhausting lifting and becoming overstressed, which might cause you to clench your teeth and agitate the TMD.
If left unattended, TMD can lead to other more significant illness consisting of:
- Poor oral health.
- Chronic headaches.
- Lack of sleep, due to tooth grinding, which can result in depression with time.
- Malnutrition or eating disorders.
- Hearing issues.
TMJ, or more correctly called TMD, should be taken seriously and treated as quickly as possible. Use a relied on dental practitioner that makes your dental work as pleasant and pain-free as possible, like The Pleased Tooth dentists in North Carolina. Arrange your consultation today to stop your pain and to start smiling again.