Many people experience jaw pain, and sometimes this discomfort can be the result of a TMJ disorder. These are disorders that affect the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects your jaw and skull. There can be many causes and symptoms of TMJ disorders and the best way to ensure you get proper treatment for your jaw pain is to schedule an appointment with your dentist. But if you’re experiencing jaw pain and want to know if it’s TMJ, here are some things to know.
Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
The standard symptoms of a TMJ disorder are muscle and jaw pain around the mouth, but it can also present with tenderness, pain in just one of the joints, aches, and pains around your ears, and generalized aching that affects the face. It may also hurt or be difficult to chew, and you may experience difficulty when you try to open and close your mouth. Another possible symptom is a clicking sound when you chew or open your mouth or a grating feeling when you perform these actions. Although TMJ disorders often cause aches, pains, and discomfort, it’s possible that you can have the clicking sound or grating feeling without any pain.
What Causes TMJ Disorders?
TMJ disorders are often caused by alignment problems that affect the jaws, muscles, and teeth, but they can also be caused by:
- Jaw injuries that impact the joint
- Habitual clenching or grinding of the teeth
- Arthritis that damages the joint’s cartilage
Your Dentist Can Help You Find the Right Solution
The causes of TMJ disorders are varied, and so too are the solutions available for them. For instance, if your jaw clicks or you feel a grating sensation when you open your mouth or chew but aren’t experiencing pain, then your TMJ may not require any treatment at all. On the other hand, if the pain is because of teeth grinding that’s being caused by stress, then the most effective treatment won’t be dentistry, but rather resolving the underlying stress. But when misaligned jaws or teeth cause TMJ disorders, the best solution is a dental bite adjustment that will correct the alignment of your mouth and reduce the symptoms you’re feeling. In the meantime, other things you can do to reduce your symptoms include:
- Taking over-the-counter pain medication
- Physical therapy to exercise your jaw joint and muscles
- Stretching and massaging your jaw
- Mouthguards to protect your teeth from grinding
- Hot or cold compresses
- Eating soft foods and solids that are cut up in small pieces
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TMJ disorders don’t always present the same way, and different causes lead to different symptoms. If you’re experiencing jaw pain or tenderness regularly, or can’t open and close your jaw normally, then schedule an appointment with Dr. Skrobanek at GPS Dental. He will be able to provide a diagnosis, narrow in on a cause, and determine the best course of action to treat your TMJ disorder. For more information about jaw problems like TMJ, visit our website today.
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Dr. Gary P. Skrobanek’s experienced and friendly team at GPS Dental offers family dentistry for all ages in San Antonio, TX area. Our Brooks City Base dentist office is conveniently located and offers early morning appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At GPS Dental, we promote dental health awareness to our patients and provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to dental implants, sleep apnea, TMJ / TMD Treatment, cosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at (210) 633-3477 to make an appointment.