All You Need to Know About Temporomandibular Jaw Disorder

Temporomandibular jaw disorder (TMD) is a condition that causes pain in the jaw muscles, joints, or both. It is estimated to affect roughly 10 million people worldwide, with 70% being women 20-60 years of age. The cause is still not well known, but research believes it could be due to a combination of factors such as genetics, problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), teeth grinding (bruxism), and stress. If you have this condition, you need to see a Springfield TMJ specialist for diagnosis and treatment.

Causes and Risk Factors

The causes of this condition are usually unclear, but several factors could contribute to it. However, researchers think some factors could increase your risk of developing the condition. 

Usually, genetics is the leading cause of TMD, followed by trauma and teeth grinding (bruxism)

Jaw injuries can also lead to TMD. If you have a history of jaw injuries, you are more likely to develop the condition. Additionally, if you have problems with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), you are more likely to develop TMD. Teeth grinding (bruxism) is another common cause of TMD. In some cases, connective tissue disorders and arthritis can also lead to TMD.

Symptoms

The symptoms are usually mild but can become severe if left untreated. The most common symptom is pain in the jaw muscles, which you feel all around the jaw, including your temples. It also causes pain when you open or closes your mouth, chew, or yawn. You may also experience popping or clicking in the jaw joint and a limited range of motion.

In most cases, people with TMJ experience pain, tenderness, or stiffness in the jaw joint. Other symptoms include clicking or popping sounds when opening or closing the mouth, pain that spreads to your ear, headache pain, neck ache, shoulder, and back tension, impaired jaw movement, popping sounds when chewing food. TMJ can also cause problems with eating, speaking, and opening your mouth wide.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of TMJ is typically based on medical history, physical examination, and X-rays. You may need other tests such as CT scans or MRIs to rule out other causes of your pain.

Treatment

If you have been diagnosed with TMJ, it is vital to get the treatment you need. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for TMD. The treatment plan will depend on the cause and severity of your symptoms. In most cases, you can find relief with a combination of therapies.

A TMJ specialist may recommend pain relief measures such as over-the-counter or prescription medications, ice packs, and physical therapy. If you are a teeth grinder (bruxer), your doctor may recommend a mouth guard to protect your teeth and jaw joints. Surgery is rarely needed, but it may be recommended if severe conditions do not respond to other treatments.

In summary, TMD is a condition that causes pain in the jaw muscles, joints, or both. The leading cause remains unknown, but risk factors include stress, genetics, and jaw injuries. Symptoms range from mild to severe, depending on the severity of your condition. Diagnosis is based on medical history, physical exams, and x-rays. Treatment depends on the cause and severity of symptoms, but you rarely need surgery.