November 27, 2015

For TMJ Awareness Month, we would like to discuss common causes and signs of this disorder. TMJ, or Disorder of the Temporomandibular Joint, is a name for problems with the jaw and face muscles. While it is unclear what causes TMJ, it can be a very painful disorder that can sometimes be debilitating. Recognizing common TMJ symptoms can help lead you to a correct diagnosis.

Causes of TMJ

While doctors are not sure what exactly what causes TMJ, there are certain factors that can lead to the known symptoms. These factors include:

  • Injury to the jaw, including whiplash
  • Teeth grinding and clenching, which is often a symptom of another disorder
  • Movement of the disc or soft cushion between the joints ball and socket
  • Stress, which causes tightening of the jaw muscles, facial muscles, or clenching of the teeth
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sleep apnea

Symptoms of TMJ

Often, people are unaware of their TMJ until they experience symptoms that seem to manifest on their own. However, these symptoms are a direct result of the TMJ disorder. Symptoms include:

  • Popping and locking of the jaw
  • The inability to open the mouth wide
  • Problems chewing and biting comfortably
  • Pain and tenderness in the jaw or face when chewing or speaking
  • A grating sensation near the ball and socket of the jaw
  • Facial swelling

Treatments for TMJ

Your dental professional may prescribe a mouth guard for you to wear at night. These mouth guards are custom designed to keep you from grinding and clenching your teeth. This can relieve any inflammation and allow your muscles to heal. Other treatments include over-the-counter pain medications, warm compresses, eating soft foods, and learning relaxation techniques.

Many who suffer from TMJ are unaware that this is an issue they should bring up with their dentist. Since everything within the mouth is connected, including the jaw and facial muscles, dentists are often able to help their patients receive useful treatment. To see a general dentist in Redbank, NJ, contact Dr. Allan Ruda at 732.945.7856.



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