When you are suffering from a TMJ disorder you may believe it is just an ongoing problem that does not deserve any attention. However, the symptoms of this condition can keep nagging you until you decide to look for treatment from a dentist or a doctor.
A TMJ disorder is a pain in the jaw joint that can be caused by different medical problems. The temporomandibular joint joins the lower mandible to the skull in front of the ear. Some facial muscles that manipulate chewing are also attached to the lower jaw. Any problems in this area can cause head and neck pain, headaches, ear pain, facial pain, locked jaw and problems with biting or popping sounds when chewing. More women than men suffer from TMJ syndrome although it is not understood why women are affected in higher numbers than men.
The temporomandibular joint has muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and bones and everyone has two TMJs on either side of the jaw.
What Are the Causes of TMJ Disorders
Many reasons exist for the causes of TMJ disorders and may include trauma, wear and tear, disease because of aging, and oral habits. Problems with clenching and grinding the teeth can result in muscle spasms and an inflammatory reaction to cause the initial pain. Misalignment of the teeth, repeated use of the chewing muscles can also cause changes to the temporomandibular joint. People may also be affected by consistently chewing on something to cause pounding in the joint to cause painful stress.
The jaw joint is also prone to arthritic changes as the other joints in the body. The prevalence can increase with normal aging as with several mechanical and biological factors to contribute to the progress of the disease. Other causes of TMJ disorders may include infection of the joint, cancer, and bone deformity occurring at birth.
What Are the Nagging TMJ Disorder Symptoms
The nagging symptoms of TMJ disorders may include pain in the facial muscles and jaw joints that may radiate to the neck and shoulders. Muscle spasms can occur when the joints are overstretched. You may experience pain when talking, yawning or chewing. The pain generally begins in the joint itself in front of the ear or move elsewhere on the face, jaw, and scalp to cause headaches or dizziness or even the symptoms of a migraine.
When your joints move sounds of grating or popping may be produced. Some people may hear clicking sounds indicating the disk may be in an abnormal position. A dentist for TMJ treatment can provide a remedy even when the sounds do not cause any pain. You can experience swelling in the face and mouth on the affected side.
Muscle spasms with TMJ disorders can cause difficulty in swallowing. The jaw may not open fully or may lock in a wide-open position to indicate a dislocation. Some people may experience one painful side or the other when opening the jaw awkwardly and the lower jaw may deviate to one side. These changes could be unexpected and the teeth may not fit properly together indicating misalignment of the jaw. Some people with TMJ disorders have a history of the poor dentition and emotional stress.
How Long Do the Symptoms of TMJ Disorders Last?
- Acute symptoms of TMJ disorders can last from a few days to a few weeks after the cause of the discomfort or injury has been resolved.
- Chronic conditions of TMJ disorders can be ongoing with episodes of sharp or dull pain that occurs over an extended period of months to years.
When Should Medical Attention Be Sought for TMJ Disorders?
Pain in the jaw joint or chewing muscles occasionally should not be a cause for concern. However, you must be seeking medical attention if the pain is severe and bothers you constantly. A healthcare professional can help you if you have difficulties opening and closing the jaw swallowing food. The treatment for TMJ disorders should begin in the early stages. When the condition is identified in the initial stages the doctor or dentist will explain the functioning of the joints and to avoid certain behaviors like chewing gum which can aggravate the facial and jaw pain.
If you are experiencing a locked jaw you should visit an emergency room at a hospital where you will be provided with the appropriate treatment. TMJ treatment dentistry in Robbinsville can also provide you treatment for this condition to help you find relief from the nagging symptoms of TMJ disorders.