The temporomandibular joints, called TMJ, are the jaw muscles and joints that make it possible to open and close your mouth. Many patients refer to it as “TMJ”. Located on each side of your head, the TMJ or jaw muscles work together when you speak, chew or swallow and include ligaments, muscles and the jaw bone. They also control the lower jaw (mandible) as it moves backward, forward, and side to side.
Who can have TMJ Syndrome / TMD?
TMJ disorders can afflict people of all ages, patients under 40 are more susceptible and it occurs more frequently in women.
What are the Symptoms of TMJ Syndrome / TMD?
Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders may include:
- Tenderness or pain of your jaw
- Aching pain around and in your ear
- Discomfort or difficulty while chewing
- Aching facial pain
- Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
- Grating or clicking sounds in the jaw joints
- Ringing in the ears or earaches
TMJ disorders can also cause a grating sensation or clicking sound when you chew or open your mouth. If you are not experiencing pain or limited movement with your jaw clicking, you probably don’t need treatment for a TMJ disorder. However, if left untreated, the TMJ symptoms increase in number and severity as you get older.
Possible causes of TMJ disorders include:
- Tooth and jaw alignment
- Stress and teeth grinding
Diagnosis is an important step before treatment. Consult with Dr. Skrobanek, the dentist who treats TMJ disorders in the San Antonio area, to determine if you are suffering from TMJ syndrome. Part of the dental examination includes checking the muscles and joints for clicking, popping, tenderness or difficulty moving.
What should I do if I suspect TMJ Syndrome?
Bite problems associated with the alignment of the jaws, muscles and teeth cause the majority of TMJ disorders. By adjusting your bite (the way your teeth come together), many times we can properly align the teeth, muscles and jaws to be in the most comfortable positions. This alignment correction will often reduce or eliminate your TMJ symptoms.
Consultation of your TMJ issues by Dr. Skrobanek is an important first step in determining the best course of treatment.