The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects the jaw to the temporal lobe. It works as a sliding mechanism, allowing the jaw to open and close. TMJ disorders, or TMD, are when there is pain or stiffness in these jaw joints.
Many patients may not even be aware that they have TMD because the symptoms may not be obvious or even located in the jaw. Some may experience throbbing headaches, soreness in their neck down into their shoulders, and even trouble chewing.
November is TMJ Awareness Month, a movement to bring attention to TMD and help people find treatment.
What Causes TMD?
Unfortunately, researchers have struggled to pin down the exact causes behind TMD. There is a link between bruxism–teeth grinding–and TMD, showing that those who grind their teeth are more likely to develop TMD. This is likely due to the pressure on the jaw joint when the teeth are clenched.
Other possible causes could be jaw injuries such as a broken or dislocated jaw, arthritis, stress, and a jaw misalignment. However, just because you have experienced one or more of these does not mean you will develop TMD.
Signs of TMD
Many people are unaware that they may have TMD and do not receive treatment. If you have one or more of these symptoms, it could be a sign of TMD:
- Pain in the jaw
- Pain in the side of your face
- Aches in your neck and shoulders
- Stiffness in your jaw
- Clicking or popping when you move your jaw
- Headaches or migraines
- A change in how your teeth rest together
- Difficulty moving your jaw
Even if you do not think it is TMD but you have symptoms on this list, visit a professional to be sure. It’s better to be safe so that you can find relief from your symptoms.
Schedule a Consultation
If you’re experiencing symptoms of TMD, please contact The Hills Dental Spa right away. They have a variety of TMJ treatment options in Austin, TX, to help relieve your symptoms. Contact The Hills Dental Spa at (512) 347-0044 to schedule a consultation today.