Symptoms and Causes of TMJ Disorder

TMJ Disorder, also known as TMD, is a common condition that affects patients of all ages. In fact, dentists are becoming more aware of the prevalence of TMD, and now offer an array of effective, non-invasive treatments. We can explain the various causes of TMJ when you visit our Franklin Square, NY, practice.

Causes of TMJ may include dental trauma, bite misalignment, stress, and bruxism (teeth grinding), among other things. TMD can cause many different symptoms, including headaches, jaw pain, clicking noises in the jaw, and tinnitus. At Smiles on Broadway Dental Care, our dentists will carefully assess your symptoms, investigating the cause of your condition. Your doctor can then develop an effective TMD treatment plan to alleviate discomfort as well as frustrating side effects.

Causes of TMJ Disorder

x-ray image of jawboneYour temporomandibular joints are the powerful joints on either side of your jaw. They endure tremendous daily pressure, bearing all the force of your bite. They are also very flexible, allowing you to move your jaw up and down and side to side.

Scientists are not certain of the exact causes of TMJ Disorder. However, they do know that the condition occurs when TMJ joints are damaged or when the surrounding muscles and ligaments are inflamed. Researchers also know that certain factors can increase your risk of TMD:

  • Bruxism is a common risk factor for TMJ. Constantly clenching the jaw causes strain, which may lead to discs in the joint slipping out of place. Bruxism occurs for many reasons, although stress and anxiety are frequent causes.
  • Physical trauma can lead to TMJ. For example, a blow can fracture the jaw or knock a joint out of alignment. Whiplash can tear or strain nearby muscles.
  • Your posture can affect your jaw health. If you slouch or sit with your head held forward, pressure on the jaw joints is increased.
  • Genetics also play a role in the development of TMJ. If someone in your family suffers from the condition, you have an increased risk as well.
  • Certain medical conditions, such arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, can damage the cartilage in your joints and lead to jaw joint inflammation.
  • Dental misalignment, worn teeth, or missing teeth can affect the force of your bite. Because certain portions of the dental arches bear more force than others, misalignment can severely strain jaw joints.

Our dentists will investigate the cause of your condition, developing an effective TMD treatment plan to alleviate discomfort and frustrating side effects.

TMJ Symptoms

Just as there are many different causes of TMJ Disorder, there are also various symptoms. Signs may include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Radiating facial pain
  • Stiffness and pain in the neck, shoulders, or upper back
  • Ear pain or ringing in the ears
  • Chronic headaches or migraines
  • Jaw stiffness
  • Pain while chewing
  • Popping or clicking when opening the jaw
  • Difficulty opening or closing the mouth all the way

We Can Alleviate TMJ Discomfort

The symptoms of TMJ can be debilitating. You may suffer chronic pain, or find yourself unable to eat certain foods. Fortunately, our team offers conservative yet highly effective TMJ treatment. Your dentist will first evaluate the cause of your condition; then he or she can target and treat the underlying issue.

Often, we treat TMJ with custom-made oral appliances to realign the jaw. These devices can also prevent teeth grinding and clenching. If damaged teeth are a problem, there are a variety of treatments available. Options include crowns, bridges, dental implants, and braces. After treatment, we will monitor your progress to ensure sustained relief from TMJ symptoms.

Schedule Your Consultation

To learn more about the causes and symptoms of TMJ Disorder, contact our office today. Our skilled practitioners understand the degree to which TMJ can affect your quality of life, and we are committed to providing cutting-edge treatment methods that deliver lasting results and relief from pain.