Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, or TMJ Disorders, are a group of ailments that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. The Temporomandibular joint, more commonly called the TMJ, acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. When this joint is affected by different TMJ disorders it can cause varying levels of pain and discomfort.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, over 10 millions Americans suffer from TMJ disorders. In fact, women actually account for 90% of all TMJ disorder sufferers. Scientist have been looking for connections between TMJ symptoms and female hormones to find the answer to why women suffer from the disorder more often than men.
What Causes A TMJ Disorder?
While the actual cause of TMJ disorders are unknown, the most obvious cause is trauma to the joint socket and muscles that are used for chewing and speaking. Examples of trauma could be an accident, teeth grinding, or jaw clenching.
What are the symptoms of TMJ Disorders?
The most obvious sign of a TMJ disorder is a popping sound and pain when you open and close your mouth. TMJ disorders might also manifest themselves as headaches, ringing in the ears, dizziness, or muscle spasms.
One of the most serious and painful signs of a TMJ disorder is lockjaw. Lockjaw occurs when a person has trouble opening and closing their jaw, and oftentimes have immense pain while doing so.
Can TMJ Disorders Be Treated?
Since a definite cause of TMJ disorder has yet to be determined they can be difficult to treat. Your dentist can prescibe medicine for pain, as well as help come up with solitonScientists do believe the disorders can be avoided by reducing stress, eating well, and exercising.
If you have experienced or have questions about TMJ disorders, be sure to ask our office staff about treatment options.