Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge joint of your jaw that moves up, down, back, forth, and side to side. This joint is responsible for giving you full range of motion for speaking, biting, yawning, or chewing. TMJ disorder is a common disorder that can cause jaw pain, pain in the cheeks, face, neck shoulders, headaches, a clicking and popping of the jaw, and limited motion for the joint. TMJ disorder is often associated with bruxism, teeth grinding, because both are often caused by a misalignment of the jaw. Interestingly enough, bruxism and TMJ disorder can be both causes and symptoms of each other.
Pain surrounding the joint of your jaw is a very common symptom of TMJ disorder. There can also be pain in your face and around your ears. When the joint becomes misaligned, the interlocking pieces of cartilage and bone can begin to rub up against each other, which causes a clicking or popping to be felt and/or heard. The clicking and popping of your jaw can be painful. Inflammation of the joint can occur. Inflammation along with tension in the muscles can cause the joint to lock up. The movement of your mouth and jaw can become limited and painful. The pain can spread to be felt in your neck, shoulders, and back. If TMJ causes bruxism, your teeth can become damaged from the friction of the grinding. This can lead to sensitive teeth, cavities, or other dental complications.
Your dentist will first try to determine the cause of your joint pain. Once the cause is pinpointed, a treatment plan can be created. Temporomandibular joint disorder can be caused by misalignment, bruxism, or arthritis. How TMJ disorder is treated will depend on the cause. A custom mouth guard is a common treatment. The guard can help ease pressure from the jaw and help prevent your teeth from grinding.
Dr. Carmona can help you determine if your jaw pain is caused by 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.