The temporomandibular joint, more commonly known as the TMJ, is located directly in front of the ears where the maxilla (upper jaw) and the mandible (lower jaw) meet. Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) are often referred to as TMJ. The temporomandibular joint acts like a hinge that allows the upper jaw to close on the lower jaw. The temporomandibular joint is one of the most used joints in the body. The flexibility of the temporomandibular joint enable you to yawn, talk, and chew. For our patients in Memphis, TMJ disorder symptoms can be debilitating.
What Causes TMJ Disorders?
Temporomandibular joint disorders may be caused by excessive gum chewing or nail biting. Rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis may also cause temporomandibular joint disorders. Putting a massive amount of pressure on the temporomandibular joint through such actions as grinding or clenching the teeth can cause temporomandibular joint disorders. TMJ disorders may also result from stress. In addition, trauma to the jaw as well as misaligned teeth may cause temporomandibular joint disorders to occur.
Common TMJ Symptoms
TMJ disorders can affect both men and women. While this is true, women are more prone to TMJ disorders than men. While temporomandibular joint disorders can affect patients of all ages, patients between the ages of 20 and 40 are most likely to develop TMJ disorders. Our Memphis cosmetic dentistry patients affected by temporomandibular joint symptoms often experience severe pain. Memphis restorative dentistry patients often experience pain resulting from temporomandibular joint disorders for years before seeking dental treatment. The most common symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders are:
- Ears that feel clogged
- Muffled hearing
- Ringing in the ears: many patients with temporomandibular joint disorders experience ringing in the ears that is only resolved through treating the TMJ disorder
- Hearing clicking sounds, grinding sounds, popping sounds, or crunching sounds in the jaw, which may be followed by pain
- Headache: up to 80 percent of patients with temporomandibular joint disorders experience headaches as a result of the disorder
- Facial pain: up to 40 percent of patients with temporomandibular joint disorders experience facial pain as a result of the disorder. Facial pain may also occur when exposed to cold temperatures and when opening or closing the jaw.
- Ear pain: up to 50 percent of patients with temporomandibular joint disorders experience ear pain that is not caused by an ear infection. The ear pain most commonly occurs in the front of the ear or below the ear.
- A feeling of unbalance or dizziness not caused by vertigo
- Difficulty chewing
- Tooth ache
- A tired feeling in the face after chewing or talking
- A feeling of the jaw being improperly aligned
- Not being able to open the jaw very wide
- A jaw getting stuck in the closed or open position
- Pain felt in the face, jaw, neck, shoulders, or ear when eating or speaking
Contact van Zyl Center for Advanced Dentistry Today
If you are suffering from a temporomandibular joint disorder, there are treatments available. To learn more about common TMJ symptoms and treatments, or to schedule an examination, please contact van Zyl Center for Advanced Dentistry today. Cosmetic and restorative dentist Ettienne van Zyl and his esteemed staff would be happy to answer any questions you may have.