Possible Causes for TMJ Disorder
If you have pain in the jaw, find it difficult to get a good night’s rest, and/or experience frequent headaches, you could be experiencing TMJ disorder. “TMJ” stands for the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects the jaw to the skull and controls the muscles that are involved with movement of the jaw. When this joint is damaged for whatever reason, it can lead to a variety of symptoms. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take at home to ease the discomfort and pain that comes with TMJ disorder. In this article, we’ll explore the symptoms of the condition as well as some of the likely causes.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
When it comes to TMJ disorder — and virtually every other medical condition, for that matter – the exact symptoms can vary from one person to the next. It all depends on factors such as the severity of the problem and a person’s lifestyle and personal habits. What follows is a list of the most common symptoms associated with TMJ disorder:
- Pain and/or swelling of the jaw joint
- Pain and/or tension in the shoulders and neck
- Pain or tenderness in the facial muscles
- Pain when chewing food
- Hearing difficulties
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Difficulty in opening the mouth wide and/or closing the mouth
- Clicking or popping sound in the jaw when opening or closing the mouth
It’s important to note that just because you experience some of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean that you have TMJ disorder, and only your dentist or doctor can provide you with a definite diagnosis.
Why Some People Develop TMJ Disorder
In most cases, people develop TMJ disorder due to a combination of factors. Some of these may be within our control, while others are not. What follows are some of the most common reasons why people develop this condition:
- Bruxism (clenching the teeth and/or grinding the teeth at night)
- Arthritis in the jaw
- An injury to the jaw
- Anxiety/stress (leads to teeth grinding and clenching of the jaw while awake)
- Poor posture
- Disease of the connective tissue around the jaw joint
- Orthodontic braces
- Chewing gum daily for long periods of time
For some people with a mild case of TMJ disorder, the condition simply goes away on its own. But many people require some form of treatment to relieve the associated symptoms. If you believe that you are experiencing the symptoms of TMJ disorder, talk to your dentist today.