If you’re experiencing jaw pain in Pueblo and you’re not sure why, you could be suffering from TMJ/TMD, a disorder that affects the joints and muscles of your jaw, resulting in serious pain, discomfort, and even problems chewing. Learn more about this condition below, or contact us now to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sisneros at Rocky Mountain Dental Care now.
The terms TMJ and TMD are used synonymously to refer to temporomandibular joint disorder. This disorder affects the temporomandibular joint, which is a delicate joint located just underneath each of the ears.
This joint connects the jaw and the skull, and is responsible for helping you open your mouth, chew, speak, and much more. However, if it becomes inflamed, damaged, or even infected, this can result in TMJ/TMD.
TMJ/TMD is unique because it can be caused by a lot of different issues. Chronic teeth grinding (bruxism) for example, can put stress on the joints and muscles of the jaw, resulting in TMJ/TMD. Direct trauma to the joint can also damage it and cause TMJ/TMD, and TMJ/TMD sometimes can result from inflammatory or autoimmune disorders, such as arthritis.
Regardless of the cause, TMJ/TMD usually has similar signs and symptoms. The most common sign is pain and discomfort that radiate from the jaw to the rest of the face. This pain is usually the greatest near the ear.
Headaches are also a common symptom of TMJ/TMD, due to the close proximity of the joint to the rest of your face and head. “Clicking” and “popping” noises are also common in patients with TMJ/TMD, and could indicate a dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint.
It’s also common to have pain or tenderness in the jaw when chewing, particularly if you’re chewing tough or hard foods. In some cases, the jaw may even “lock” when you eat or speak, making it hard or impossible to open or close your jaw all the way.
This depends on the cause of your TMJ/TMD. If you have TMJ/TMD caused by bruxism (teeth grinding), for example, a night guard may be used to prevent you from grinding your teeth.
Another common treatment option is treatment with a TMJ appliance. This is a bite guard or splint that fits over the upper and lower teeth, and shifts your bite and your jaw into a position that promotes healing. It’s usually worn during sleep, but can be worn up to 24 hours per day in some cases.
To learn more about your options for treating TMJ/TMD, you can contact Rocky Mountain Dental Co. for an appointment with Dr. David Sisneros. After you’re diagnosed, Dr. Sisneros will help you understand which treatments may be right for you.