Dentist pointing at the TMJ on a fake skull to indicate TMJ dysfunction or TMD

Signs & Symptoms of TMJ Dysfunction

September 29, 2020 11:53 pm
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TMJ stands for “temporomandibular joint”. You have two of these joints – one on either side of your face. These joints connect the temporal bone of your skull to your lower jaw, called the mandible. This joint essentially works as a hinge so you can open and close your mouth. When your TMJ works as it should, you can comfortably chew, talk, yawn, and so on.

TMD, or temporomandibular disorder/dysfunction, occurs when there’s a problem in your TMJ. What causes a problem? What are the signs and symptoms?

Possible Causes of TMD

The exact cause for each case of TMJ dysfunction can be difficult to pinpoint. Possible reasons can include things like an accident, arthritis, overuse from excessive gum chewing, or chronic teeth grinding. If you’re dealing with lots of stress, you might clench your teeth and clench your jaw muscles so much that you develop TMD. TMD is most commonly reported in women and patients between 20-40 years old.

Signs & Symptoms

Worried you might have TMD? Here are some signs to watch for:

  • Jaw pops or clicks when you open or close your mouth
  • Tenderness or pain in your jaw
  • Pain in your ear
  • Difficulty biting or chewing
  • Jaw locking
  • Difficulty opening your mouth wide
  • Frequent dizziness, neck stiffness, and/or headaches

These may start mildly, but over time, TMD usually gets worse without treatment. If you’re experiencing any of the above, it’s best to consult with our team sooner rather than later.

Treatment for TMJ Dysfunction at Rockingham Prosthodontics

TMD can make your life more challenging, so we want to do whatever we can to relieve your discomfort to improve your quality of life. At our Harrisonburg dental office, we customize treatment for each patient’s unique situation. Many cases can be treated with something simple like a mouthguard and/or relaxation techniques.

If you have any questions about TMD, our other dental services, or our in-house membership plan, please contact us today!

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