The TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, and it is the joint that creates the hinge of the jaw. This joint can move up, down, and side to side giving you full range of motion for speaking, biting, yawning, or chewing. TMJ disorder is a common disorder that causes pain in the jaw and face, headaches, a clicking and popping of the jaw, and a limit of motion for the joint. TMJ disorder is often associated with bruxism (also known as teeth grinding) because both are often caused by a misalignment of the jaw. Bruxism and TMJ disorder can be both causes and symptoms of each other.
Jaw pain near the joint is a very common symptom of TMJ disorder. There can also be pain near the ears and cheeks. When the TMJ becomes misaligned, the interlocking pieces of cartilage and bone can rub up against each other causing a clicking or popping to be felt and/or heard. The clicking and popping can be painful. If untreated, inflammation in the area can occur. Tension in the muscles and inflammation can cause the joint to lock up. The movement can become limited and painful. The pain may even be felt in the neck, shoulders, and back. If bruxism is involved, the teeth can become damaged from the grinding. This damage can lead to sensitive teeth, cavities, or other dental complications.
Once your dentist determines the cause of your joint pain, a treatment plan can be created. TMJ disorder can be caused by misalignment, bruxism, or arthritis. The treatment will depend on the cause of the disorder. A mouth guard is a common treatment. The mouth guard will be custom fit to perfectly fit your teeth. The guard will prevent your teeth from grinding and to take pressure of your jaw.
Dr. Carmona can help you determine if your jaw pain is TMJ disorder. To schedule a consultation at Austin Prosthodontics, call 512-250-9444. We also proudly welcome patients from Cedar Park, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Leander, and all surrounding Texas communities.