TMJ Awareness Month
TMD often causes severe pain and discomfort. It can be temporary or last many years. It might affect one or both sides of your face. More women than men have it, and it’s most common among people between the ages of 20 and 40.
Symptoms can include:
Pain or tenderness in your face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide
Problems when you try to open your mouth wide
Jaws that get “stuck” in the open- or closed-mouth position
Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew. This may or may not be painful.
A tired feeling in your face
Trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite — as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly.
Injury to your jaw, the joint, or the muscles of your head and neck can lead to TMD. Other causes include:
Grinding or clenching your teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the joint
Movement of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the joint, Arthritis in the joint,
Stress, which can cause you to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth.
To find out what’s causing TMD, the dentist will ask about your health history and conduct a physical exam.
They’ll check your jaw joints for pain or tenderness and listen for clicks, pops, or grating sounds when you move them. They’ll also make sure your jaw works like it should and doesn’t lock when you open or close your mouth. Plus, they’ll test your bite and check for problems with your facial muscles. In some instances, you may be referred to a specialist to investigate further.