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TMJ Disorders: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options


September 26th, 2023

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are very prevalent, and researchers at NIH estimate that they are present in 5-12% of the population. TMJ disorders can range in severity and cause, which makes them particularly tough to prevent and treat. Dentists play a big role in diagnosing your TMJ disorder and helping you find the right solution to treat it. These are the things that patients should know about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for TMJ disorders.

What Is TMJ Disorder?

On each side of your head, you have a joint known as the temporomandibular joint. It is located in front of your ears, and it helps your jaw to smoothly open and close when you are talking, eating, or opening your mouth. TMJ disorder is sometimes just called TMJ or TMD. When you have this disorder, you can experience pain, discomfort, headaches, and other symptoms due to problems with the temporomandibular joint.

What Are the Causes of TMJ or TMD?

There are many different things that can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder, including:

  • Teeth grinding or clenching
  • Jaw clenching
  • Arthritis
  • Injury or trauma to the mouth or jawbone
  • Stress
  • Poor bite alignment
  • And more!

Visiting your dentist can help to determine the reason or reasons why you are experiencing temporomandibular joint disorder and come up with the right solution for you.

What Are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?

While anyone can experience temporomandibular joint disorder, it is most commonly found in adults between the ages of 20 and 40. Some of the symptoms that you are dealing with TMJ disorder include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Chronic headaches without another obvious cause
  • Tinnitus or persistent ringing in your ears
  • Tooth pain without decay or another underlying issue
  • Exhaustion
  • Ongoing earaches that are not correlated with an ear infection
  • Trouble chewing, opening your mouth, or closing your mouth
  • Changes to your bite
  • Hearing a popping or clicking sound when you chew or talk
  • Pain in your back or shoulders

Because so many of these symptoms can also be connected to other oral and physical conditions, it’s important to work with your dentist and other healthcare professionals to make a precise diagnosis. In cases of tooth pain and jaw pain, you might have other dental issues present that should be treated over the course of your temporomandibular joint disorder treatment.

How Can Your TMJ Disorder Be Treated?

Thankfully, there is a broad range of treatment options for people who are dealing with temporomandibular joint disorders, including non-surgical options that will ease your discomfort and eliminate symptoms. Some of the most popular ways to treat TMJ disorders include:

  • Using hot and cold packs to help ease jaw pain and get rid of muscle tightness if your TMJ pain comes and goes
  • Using over-the-counter medications to help reduce swelling and soothe your pain
  • Working with your dentist to get a custom night guard that will move your teeth to the proper position while you sleep to prevent holding your jaw tight or grinding your teeth while you sleep
  • Receiving trigger-point injections that help relax muscles in parts of your jaw that are particularly painful
  • Adapting your routine and diet so that you minimize or avoid behaviors that lead to pain in your temporomandibular joint
  • Visiting the dentist regularly to ensure that your bite is correct and there is no decay in your mouth that might be leading to pain or discomfort

To speak with an experienced dentist about your temporomandibular joint discomfort or pain, contact CD Dental Care in North York. We offer a broad range of general dentistry, restorative dentistry, and cosmetic dentistry services to help you love your smile again.

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