Find Relief from Jaw Pain
What is TMJ?
Temporomandibular joint disorder, commonly referred to as TMJ or TMD, is a condition that can cause significant pain in your jaw.
TMD is a condition that affects the joint connecting your lower jaw to your skull and the muscles that control this joint. You may have problems on the right side, left side, or both.
How is TMJ Treated?
Effective TMJ treatment has several steps. First, a consultation is important to obtain an accurate diagnosis. Temporomandibular joint disorder is a broad class of problems and there are quite a few more specific TMJ diagnoses that require different treatments.
Sometimes physical therapy is appropriate. Sometimes behavior modification to avoid activities that are stressing your TMJs is all that is necessary. In other cases, wearing an appliance that repositions your jaw will take care of the problem.
What Causes TMJ Disorders?
High levels of stress, grinding or clenching your teeth, loose ligaments in the joint, sleep apnea, certain medications, and trauma have all been linked to TMJ disorders.
Sleep apnea or other breathing disorders can contribute to TMJ by causing you to move your jaw forward when breathing is compromised during sleep. This motion can help open your airway, but it also places stress on your temporomandibular joints.
How Do I Know If I Have TMJ?
Symptoms of TMJ can be temporary or can last for months or even years. Some experience only mild symptoms, while others find their symptoms to be extremely painful.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed, this indicates that you may have a problem with one or both of your temporomandibular joints. Without treatment these issues typically worsen over time, so you should have the issue evaluated early, if possible.
Some things to keep an eye out for include:
- Pain or tenderness in your jaw, face, ear, neck, or shoulder
- Discomfort when you speak, chew, or yawn
- Inability to open your mouth wide or move your jaw from side to side
- Tired feeling in your face
- Difficulty chewing
- Sudden change in your bite
- Swelling on one side of your face
- Ringing in your ears
- Popping, clicking, or crunching sounds when you open or close your mouth
- Your jaw getting "stuck" either open or closed