You probably haven’t ever given much thought to the joint that attaches your lower jaw to your skull. It’s called your temporomandibular joint, which is usually referred to as the TMJ. You have one on each side of your face.
At Le Dentistry, Dr. Phuong Le and Dr. Uyen Hoang are experts in treating TMJ syndrome. TMJ syndrome is quite common, and it can cause very uncomfortable symptoms. There are effective treatments available.
Experts believe that the number of people with TMJ syndrome is underestimated, even though at least 10 million people have it. It can be caused by normal wear and tear, grinding your teeth, or from trauma to the joint.
Symptoms of TMJ syndrome
Most people experience an occasional pop in their jaw, so if it’s only happened once or twice and you don’t have other symptoms, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. However, if you’ve noticed clicking, popping, or snapping in your jaw often, you may want to visit our office.
Think about how many times you open and close your mouth each day. You chew and swallow, yawn, talk, and breathe. It’s not surprising that the TMJ is prone to strain. Grinding your teeth in your sleep can add to the strain.
Your TMJ is surrounded and supported by cartilage and soft tissues. Those tissues can become damaged, or simply begin to wear out with time.
The popping and clicking sounds are one symptom of TMJ syndrome. Another is pain. If you’re finding it difficult to open and close your mouth, you may have TMJ syndrome.
Causes of TMJ syndrome
Some people develop TMJ syndrome and never know exactly why. Other people have increased risk factors such as:
- Trauma/mechanical damage to the joint
- Connective tissue damage or disorder
- Chronic teeth grinding or clenching
Bruxism, teeth grinding in your sleep, can lead to TMJ syndrome, as well as several other dental issues. A night guard could be a solution to protect your TMJ and your teeth.
The most common symptom of TMJ disorder is pain and tenderness in the jaw. You may feel pain on only one side, or both. You may even feel pain in other areas of your face, in your temples, or in your neck and shoulders.
The popping or clicking sound when you open and close your mouth or while you’re eating is another common symptom of TMJ disorder and may occur with or without pain or other symptoms.
Other possible symptoms include swelling and changes in how your teeth line up. In severe cases, your jaw may become stuck, either opened or closed.
When to get help
TMJ syndrome isn’t always a predictable disorder. One person may have persistent clicking while someone else has swelling, pain, and popping sounds.
The most common treatments for TMJ disorder include medication and lifestyle modifications to help relieve pressure and tension on your jaw. The best treatment for you depends on several factors.
If you’re concerned about TMJ syndrome, you should schedule an appointment at Le Dentistry so an expert can check the health of your joint. Call us today to learn more or schedule an appointment for an exam and consultation.