Jaw pain can be frustrating. And, for some, it can get so bad that it can be unbearable. If you suffer from jaw pain and frequent headaches, you might have a temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ disorder for short.
Read on to discover the factors and symptoms associated with a TMJ disorder.
What is a TMJ disorder?
A TMJ disorder is a condition that affects your jaw’s movement, but it is not only caused by the jaw itself. The disorder occurs when the joints, muscles and teeth are not working together properly. When one or more of those elements are improperly aligned, the result could be the TMJ disorder.
The TMJ is similar to a ball and socket joint, and it allows the lower jaw a range of movements. This joint enables you to open and close your mouth, but it also allows you to move your lower jaw forward and laterally, i.e., left and right. This is quite a bit of function for one small joint.
What factors lead to a TMJ disorder?
A TMJ disorder is caused by problems with your muscles, joints, and/or teeth.
If you are suffering from the TMJ disorder, you may have a misalignment of the jaw that causes your upper and lower teeth to touch incorrectly.
If you have the TMJ disorder, it may be caused by your habit of grinding your teeth. Also, your TMJ disorder may have developed because of arthritis, poor posture and/or trauma to the face.
Some people feel their stress in a variety of places on their body. The TMJ disorder may be amplified by anxiety and stress.
Do you have any of these factors? Do you grind your teeth or suffer from arthritis? Perhaps, your jaw pain is caused by a TMJ disorder. Read on to learn about common symptoms associated with this disorder.
Signs you have a TMJ disorder
You may be suffering from a TMJ disorder if you have one or more of the following symptoms.
- Jaw pain – The most common symptom is pain or tenderness in a jaw. The pain in your jaw could also spread to your head, neck, and face.
- Clicking or popping of the joint – You may notice a clicking or popping sound coming from your jaw.
- Locked jaw – Your jaw may become locked or stuck in place.
- Issues with your teeth – You may have increased sensitivity in your teeth and irregular or excessive tooth wear. Some teeth may become loose or cracked.
- Earaches and headaches – You may suffer from earaches and headaches.
You may have one or all of these symptoms.
Diagnosing a TMJ disorder
Since you may have only one of those symptoms, how can you be sure if you have a TMJ disorder? You need to visit your dentist for an exam and diagnosis.
Your dentist may take diagnostic images to determine what is causing your pain.
Treatments of a TMJ disorder
Your dentist will recommend a treatment plan to help eliminate the symptoms and treat the cause of the problem.