You may have heard about TMJ/TMD or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. This problem is known by many people but most of them do not know what it is about. Even the people having such infection do not figure out that it’s actually TMD they are having. One thing worth mentioning here is that this condition can result in quite confusing symptoms from which it may become very difficult to identify the real problem. Although you need to visit your dentist or doctor in case of any condition, you also need to know about the nature of those conditions in order to identify the level of urgency.
Having that said, it is worth mentioning what TMJ disorder is and what you can do to prevent or treat this problem.
What is TMJ?
TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint is the ‘hinge’ which connects lower jaw with rest of the skeletal structure of the face. Right alignment of TMJ allows proper settlement of lower and upper jaws with each other. With rightly functioning TMJ, you can eat, speak and chew properly. The right location of this hinge is next to the ear. You can place your finger at that position and identify the hinge movement upon opening or closing your mouth. This is called TMJ.
Any problem related to misalignment of this joint can result in certain other conditions. This problem is most commonly referred to as Temporomandibular Joint disorder or TMD.
The symptoms of TMD
Bad news for TMD patients is that this disorder is not easily identifiable. You might feel pain in your facial area, leading you to believe that it’s headache or sinus pressure. But these are exactly the same symptoms caused by TMD. Hence, if you feel such pain, you need to immediately schedule a visit to your dentist or doctor in order to if the pain you’re having is due to TMD. Some symptoms of this disorder include:
- Facial pain, pain in the jaw joints, shoulder pain, and pain around your ears when you speak or chew.
- Mouth stuck in close or open position.
- Clicking, grinding or popping sounds.
- Trouble chewing mildly hard items.
- Headache, dizziness, toothache and neck pain.
Treatment usually involves in-office and home treatment. Since this condition can result in pain, the first thing your dentist would do is to help you in getting relief from this pain. If TMD is due to stress and anxiety, you will need to get your stress treated first. Sometimes, teeth grinding can also result in TMJ disorder. Wearing mouth guard can help in this regard.
Extensive treatment may be needed if the problem has got worse. In that case, you can discuss treatment options with your dentist.