September 11, 2019
Have you ever had trouble opening or closing your mouth all the way? What about hearing a clicking or popping sound in your ears? These are common signs of TMJ disorder, or a problem with the joint connecting your jaw to your head. You may need TMJ therapy from your dentist. Read this guide with everything you need to know about TMJ.
What Is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorder, also known as TMD, involves pain or discomfort in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the joint just below your ear that connects your jaw to the rest of your skull. TMD is caused by irritation, inflammation, or injury to the TMJ. Usually, it occurs as a result of unmanaged stress, but there are multiple things that can contribute to the TMD.
Common Causes of TMD
While the exact causes of TMJ disorder are not completely understood, there are several contributing factors, such as:
- Trauma to the teeth and jaw
- Malocclusion (bite alignment issues)
- Poor posture
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Poorly managed stress or anxiety
- Excessive gum chewing
- Wearing orthodontic braces
Risk Factors for TMD
There are several risk factors for TMD, including:
- Having poor posture that puts strain on the neck and back muscles
- Stress causing you to clench your jaw or grind your teeth
- Being female aged 18-44
- Having chronic inflammatory arthritis
- Having jaw trauma or poorly positioned teeth
Symptoms of TMD
Let your dentist know if you experience any of the following symptoms, as you could need TMD therapy in Savannah:
- Pain or tenderness in the jaw area
- Clicking sound when opening or closing your mouth
- Ear pain or hearing cracking sounds in your ears
- Pain that feels like a toothache in your back teeth
- Headaches and migraines
- Popping or ringing sounds in the ears
- Sore, tight, or stiff neck or jaw muscles
- Muscle spasms in the jaw
- Lockjaw making it difficult to open or close your mouth all the way
If you have any of the symptoms listed above, you should tell your dentist right away. They can prescribe treatment that takes some of the pressure off of your jaw or even gently shifts your jaw into a new, better aligned position. In addition, they may suggest Botox injections to relax the jaw muscles, so you don’t grind or clench your teeth while you sleep. Whatever the case may be, it’s best to seek treatment as soon as possible.
About the Author
Dr. Charles Fana opened Compass Dental in Savannah, GA in 2000. Since attaining his dental degree from the University of Louisville, he has completed the entire curriculum at the prestigious L. D. Pankey Institute, becoming an expert in several different fields of dentistry, including TMJ therapy. If you think you may be at risk for TMD, contact Dr. Fana by clicking here or calling (912) 352-3955.
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