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TMJ Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, and When to Seek Help

By Chester Road Family Dental
BY Chester Road Family Dental

Are you having difficulty chewing your food and experiencing frequent pain in your jaw? It can be a sign of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Read below to know more what TMD really is and its possible causes, symptoms, and more.

Temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ disorder is commonly characterized by pain in the jaw joint and in the muscles that control the jaw movement. The exact cause of TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine. The pain they may feel can be due to a combination of various factors such as arthritis, genetics, or jaw injury. Also, jaw pain is sometimes caused by chronic clenching or grinding their teeth.

Mostly, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorder are temporary, and self-managed care or nonsurgical treatments can be a remedy to it. If pain and discomfort persist for an extended period after conservative measures have failed, then surgery can be considered to treat the patient. 

What are the common signs and symptoms of the temporomandibular joint disorder? 

  • Pain when talking, chewing, or yawning
  • A clicking, popping, or grating sound whenever they open or close their mouth
  • Difficulty when swallowing
  • Headaches and dizziness that can potentially lead to nausea or vomiting
  • The jaw may lock in a fully open position, or it may not be fully open at all
  • Ear pain, ringing in the ears, or hearing loss
  • Swelling of the face and mouth on the affected side

What causes TMJ disorder or TMD?

Most medical professionals find it difficult to determine the exact cause of TMD as multiple factors may contribute to the muscle tightness and dysfunction that characterize this disorder. The temporomandibular joint disorder can be caused by the following factors that include:

  • Bruxism or commonly known as teeth grinding
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Misalignment or trauma to the teeth or jaw
  • Poor posture
  • Excessive gum chewing
  • Arthritis or other inflammatory musculoskeletal disorders
  • Orthodontic braces

When should you seek professional help for TMJ disorder?

Infrequent pain in the jaw joint or chewing muscles is common and may not always be a cause for concern. However, if the pain is severe and has been going on for months or years, then it is time to seek help from medical professionals. They should also see the dentist or doctor when they experience difficulty in swallowing or pain whenever they open or close their mouth. If the jaw is locked open or closed, they should immediately see the dentist or doctor. If this condition is detected early, the doctor can provide preventive measures on how to avoid any action or habits that might worsen the joint or facial pain. They can also give the necessary treatments to relieve and eliminate pain.

If you’re suffering from a disorder that causes excruciating pain that can get in the way of using the jaw properly, do not wait any longer, seek professional assistance! Book your appointment immediately at Chester Road Family Dental for TMJ/TMD Treatment in Chester, VA!

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