You may hear many people talking about TMJ, blaming it for everything from pain to a digestive disorder. At Dakota Prosthetics and Implant Center, we want you to have the answers. So let’s sort out the facts.
TMJ stands for Temporomandibular joint. It encompasses the joints, muscles, and tendons that let your lower jaw open and close. Injury, arthritis, or good old-fashioned genetics can damage the joint, causing a TMJ disorder. You have this joint just in front of your ear on either side of your head. So the fact is, everyone has TMJ, but only some have or develop a TMJ disorder. These experiences listed below are just a few of the common symptoms that might point to such a disorder.
A TMJ disorder may cause pain around the joint. This may seem obvious, but jaw pain can be caused by a lot of different issues, such as tooth issues and even heart disease. So jaw pain is nothing to ignore.
The “temporo-” part of TMJ means that the muscles attach near your temple. In fact, if you put your fingers above your temple and move your jaw, you will feel those muscles at work. When those muscles are overworked or otherwise inflamed, they will cause pain along the sides and the top of your head.
Swelling in the joints, tendons, or muscles can affect the nerve endings in your ear. TMJ disorders often cause ear pain because the joint is close to the ear opening. If you place your index and middle fingers just in front of your ear and slide it forward while moving your jaw, you will clearly feel the joint at work.
Decreased Range of Motion
If the joint or muscles are damaged, you may find it difficult to move your mouth or chew properly. It may mean you can’t open your mouth as wide as possible. It might also mean chewing becomes difficult or your jaw feels tired after or even during a meal.
Clicking or Locking Jaw
Once the disorder becomes severe, the TMJ may not work correctly. Your jaw might make an annoying click or pop while talking or chewing in the early stages. But in later stages, the jaw may lock, preventing you from opening or even closing your mouth.
The good news is that a TMJ disorder is treatable. A wide range of options can make your disorder a temporary inconvenience rather than a permanent problem. At Dakota Prosthetics and Implant Center, we can diagnose your issue and get you back to normal. Give us a call, and we’ll gladly discuss your options for dealing with a TMJ Disorder.