What Is TMJ Disorder and Why Is It a Problem?
TMJ is in reference to the temporomandibular joint, which connects your upper and lower jaw to your skull at the front of each ear. Although the joint and its function may hardly ever cross your mind, the temporomandibular joint is actually one of the most important aspects of the maxillofacial structure. Whenever you open your mouth to talk, chew, yawn or laugh, your temporomanibular joint is in full swing. Anytime you want to move your jaw up or down or side to side, you will need your temporomandibular joint to do so.
Problems with the temporomandibular joint can arise for a number of reasons and are usually associated with pain around the joint from being overworked. We refer to this pain at a TMJ disorder since the temporomandibular joint is directly involved. Experts are not aware of the exact causes of TMJ, but there are multiple factors that could contribute to the disorder, like head or neck trauma, bruxism, arthritis, stress and a poor bite position. Each of these issues can cause pain that radiates from the joint throughout the rest of the face, neck and shoulders.
Symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Pain while trying to open the mouth or while chewing food
- Tension near the neck and shoulders
- Clicking or popping sounds that occur when you open your mouth
- A sudden uncomfortable bite position
- Swelling on your face
- A jaw that becomes stuck in a certain position
- Frequent headaches or toothaches
- Dizziness or ringing in the ears
Do You Have TMJ? A Consultation Could Help You
Because the symptoms of TMJ are so commonly associated with other conditions, it’s important to receive a professional diagnosis from Dr. Kohani. During a consultation at La Jolla Cosmetic Dentistry & Orthodontics, he will perform a dental examination, take x-rays using a 3D digital CT scan and talk to you about the symptoms you are experiencing. He may also examine your jaw specifically to pinpoint any pain or popping sounds as well as take a look at your muscles to see if they are working properly. The goal is to rule out any other underlying condition that could be causing a problem, and once Dr. Kohani has done that, he can move on to treating your TMJ disorder.