When you hear that little popping in your jaw, you know you are in for a battle with pain. Sometimes, the popping is completely harmless. But other times, it might be indicating a more serious and chronic problem: TMJ.

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction is more commonly referred to as TMJ. It is an awful condition that more pain that damage, but over time, reaps significant negative effects on the mouth and body. TMJ causes pain in the jaw, makes it difficult to check, and often results in a click or locking sensation and sound in the jaw.

So what’s really going on when the jaw and the joint start acting up? The temporomandibular joint runs from the jaw bone to the skull’s temporal bones, connecting the two. There is one on each side of the face, right in front of the ears. When someone speaks, you can watch this area of their jaw move up and down like a hinge. This is the temporomandibular joint in action.

Sometimes, the joint gets out of alignment. Imagine a hinge trying to work without the pieces connecting correctly. It gets slow, sticky and begins to lock. Eventually, it fails to operate smoothly on its cues. This is what is happening at the sides of the mouth – ow!

Catching TMJ in its earliest stages can help you avoid a great deal of pain and damage to your jaw. Keep an eye out for signs that you might be experiencing TMJ.

TMJ Symptoms and Treatment

Most commonly reported symptoms by patients with TMJ:

  • Clicking sound in the jaw when opening or closing mouth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Dizziness
  • Earaches
  • Ears ringing
  • Face swelling
  • Headaches
  • Locking sensation when chewing or yawning
  • Muscle spasms
  • Soreness in the mouth, jaw, ears or face
  • Toothaches
  • Upper shoulder pain

Options for treating TMJ:

  • Device Therapy

Device therapy involves using a mouth guard or splint to limit irregular jaw movement and keeping you from grinding your teeth while you sleep.

  • Surgery

Surgery is reserved for cases where TMJ is caused by misalignment rather than stress. Patients with misalignments tend to have severe underbites or overbites that catalyze the joint system’s irregular operation. Surgery will move the joint back into place so the opening and closing system can run smoothly and without any pain.

The causes of TMJ range from trauma and stress to teeth clenching to inherent misalignment. A lot of people wonder can wisdom teeth cause TMJ? The short of the long is yes, but any dentist in Doral will assure you that it is very rare. If your wisdom teeth become impacted, the stress can start to cause the jaw to ache and eventually, that aching sensation can travel up to the ear. As wisdom teeth grow in, patients often complain of earaches or headaches and this can lead to a discovery of TMJ.

If you are suffering from an aching jaw or ears, do not automatically assume you have TMJ. Sometimes just sleeping in a certain position can cause similar symptoms, and usually, they will pass. That said, it is important to keep your oral health a priority and make sure that there are not any underlying problems causing the pain. If it is TMJ, you want to catch the condition early to minimize its side effects. For all of your Doral dental services, needs, questions or concerns, come on into Doral Sedation Dentistry. We understand the importance of an accurate diagnosis and will make sure you walk out of our office healthier, happier and much more comfortable than when you stepped in.