Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
Temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ disorder, occurs when there is pain or discomfort at the temporomandibular joint located between the jaw and temporal bone of the skull. This joint acts as a sliding hinge that executes jaw movements such as talking, eating, and yawning by using the jaw muscles.
The causes of TMJ disorders can be hard to diagnose because there are many contributing factors causing discomfort to that area. These include:
- Dislocation of the jaw joint
- The disk found at the joint is out of alignment
Some symptoms you may experience when you have a TMJ disorder are:
- pain or tenderness at the jaw joint
- aching around your ears
- difficulty chewing
- locking of the jaw
- aching shoulders
There are many treatment options to consider if you have a TMJ disorder. Taking anti-inflammatories can decrease the amount of pain you are experiencing. If one of the underlying causes for your TMJ pain is due to grinding at night, your doctor may suggest a mouth guard to prevent build up of stressed caused by teeth grinding at night. Taking a break from chewing and eating softer foods can help relieve some pain so there is less stress on your jaw muscles. Some soft tissue therapy has been known to help relieve some pain with this condition. There is also surgery to help with TMJ disorders however it is not suggested unless other treatments are not helping or it is affecting your daily living.
Many doctors can help you with your TMJ disorders and suggest treatment options appropriate for your condition. Seeing a dentist, family doctor, or even a chiropractor can help with your TMJ pain.