The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw to the skull and allows the jaw to move in all directions. This joint is flexible, but it can become strained due to too much or too little movement. This pain is centered where the two temporomandibular joints connect. Both joints work together to open and close the mouth. TMD can be painful and make basic life functions like speaking and eating difficult. The most common symptoms of TMJ disorders are pain in the jaw area, difficulty opening and closing the mouth fully, headaches, locking of the jaw, and clicking or popping sounds when the mouth opens or closes.
The most common symptoms of TMJ disorders are pain in the jaw area, difficulty opening and closing the mouth fully, headaches, locking of the jaw, and clicking or popping sounds when the mouth opens or closes. Other symptoms include ringing in your ears and locking of the joint causing limited mobility. You may also experience muscle stiffness in your jaw and have difficulty chewing food.
Your dentist will examine your jaw, mouth, and surrounding facial areas to determine the cause of the pain. They’ll also take X-rays of your teeth and jaw to determine if your bite is misaligned and causing the pain. In some cases, you may need to have an MRI or CT scan done to help your doctor pinpoint the exact cause of your pain. These tests can help rule out other potential causes of jaw pain, such as sinus problems or a cyst in your jawbone.
Next steps after getting diagnosed with TMD:
Treatment for TMJ disorders often includes stress reduction, physical therapy, medication, and bite splints or night guards.
Most people with TMJ disorders are able to relieve their symptoms by practicing good jaw mechanics and using relaxation techniques, such as meditation or gentle yoga. However, when these self-care methods don’t work, your doctor may recommend other treatments to help manage your discomfort.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, a visit to your dentist is advised. Your dentist can diagnose you and provide treatment options that can improve your quality of life.