The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your jaw to the side of your head. When it works well, it enables you to talk, chew, and yawn. For people with TMJ dysfunction, problems with the joint and muscles around it may cause:
Pain that travels through the face, jaw, neck or shoulders
Limited movement or locking of the jaw
Painful clicking or popping in the jaw
A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together
Headaches, earaches, dizziness, hearing problems or difficulty swallowing
What Causes TMD?
Researchers agree that TMD falls into three categories:
Myofascial pain—discomfort or pain in the muscles of the jaw, neck, and shoulders;
A dislocated jaw or displaced disc;
Degenerative joint disease—rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis in the jaw joint.
Severe injury to the jaw is a leading cause of TMD. For example, anything from a hit in the jaw during a sporting activity to overuse syndromes, such as chewing gum excessively or chewing on one side of the mouth too frequently may cause TMD.
Jaw pain may go away with little or no treatment. Treatment may include simple things you can do yourself, such as eating soft foods or applying ice packs. It may also include pain medicines or devices to insert in your mouth. In rare cases, you might need surgery.
To detect the cause of TMD, the doctor will ask you about all the symptoms you are experiencing as well as the location and aggravating or relieving features. If you experience any of the symptoms described above, and would like to know more about your condition, Drs. Maxwell are here and ready to help!
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