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TMJ (Temporamandibular Joint) Pain

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a sort of hinge that attaches your jaw to your head. You have two temporomandibular joints – one on either side of your head. Temporomandibular disorders (or TMD) causes pain in the joints and muscles of the jaw that control movement. For this reason, those who suffer from TMD may experience pain while talking, chewing or yawning.

It is often difficult to determine the cause of a person’s TMJ disorder, since it can be the result of a combination of factors including genetics, injury or arthritis. TMJ pain can also be the result of a condition known as bruxism, which causes a person to clench their jaw and grind their teeth.

The good news is that if you suffer from TMJ disorder and are struggling with pain, this pain is often only temporary and in most cases can be relieved with nonsurgical treatment and self-care. Surgery is often times a last resort when it comes to treating TMJ disorders.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

Knowing the symptoms of TMJ disorders may allow you to pinpoint a problem prior to having to unnecessarily suffer from pain and discomfort. Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorder might include, but are certainly not limited to:

•  Pain in the temporomandibular joint
•  Tenderness and/or pain of the jaw
•  Difficulty chewing and pain experienced while chewing
•  Earaches and pains
•  Locking of the jaw joint
•  Facial pain

In addition to the above mentioned symptoms, TMJ disorders can also cause a popping or clicking sound when the mouth is opened and closed. In some cases, this clicking or popping noise is present without pain and discomfort, if this is the case, then it is likely that treatment for a TMJ disorder is unnecessary.
You should contact your doctor immediately if you are exhibiting symptoms of a TMJ disorder or if your jaw becomes locked (or stuck) in position. Your doctor and specialists may be able to determine what is causing your TMJ pain and offer solutions and treatment to remedy your discomfort.

What Causes TMJ Disorders?

The temporomandibular joint works as a ball and socket joint similar to the knee. It acts as a sort of hinge allowing the jaw to open and close. The bones and joint itself are covered with cartilage that are separated by a shock-absorbing disk. This disk helps keep the movement smooth and pain-free.
TMJ pain can occur if:

•  The cartilage covering the joint is damaged due to arthritis
•  The disk that separates the cartilage is moved out of proper positioning or erodes.
•  The joint becomes damaged due to a direct impact
•  Though these causes can lead to TMJ pain, it is still relatively unclear what causes TMJ disorders.

Risk Factors of TMD

Risk factors that can increase your risk of developing TMD include:

•  Injury of the jaw
•  Arthritis
•  Teeth clenching or grinding
•  Connective tissue diseases that lead to complications of the joints

If you believe that you have TMD, talk with your doctor or dentist today to discuss treatment options.
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