The Causes and Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, commonly known as TMJ disorder affects millions of Americans. It is commonly identified as jaw pain. But TMJ affects your body in many other ways that extend beyond the jaw.  Many symptoms linked to TMJ are quite damaging and can impact a person’s ability to smoothly carry out day to day activities.


Let us look at the causes and symptoms of TMJ to understand more about the condition.


What Causes TMJ?

The Temporomandibular Joint or TMJ is the sliding hinge joint that connects the jawbone to the skull. This joint functions normally like any other joint in the body for most people. But in some cases, a dysfunction of the joint or bones can cause severe pain to the person’s jaw and the muscles that control jaw movement. The pain can be quite sharp and can often extend to the ears too.


There are various things that can cause TMJ pain. These include excessive teeth grinding, severe jaw injury, poor teeth alignment or even arthritis. TMJ disorder can also be a genetic disorder in some people. TMJ could be triggered by one or a combination of any of these causes. To know more about the causes of TMJ, refer to this article.


Common Symptoms of TMJ

If you are experiencing problems with your jaw but don’t know if it is TMJ or not, you should look out for these symptoms:


#1 Pain and Headaches

TMJ causes pain in the jaw and related muscles. The condition can also trigger strong headaches. This is the most common symptom of TMJ disorder. One can feel pain at any time, even when there is no jaw activity. The pain could be mild or severe, momentary or prolonged. Some people even experience long periods of pain extending over days, weeks or even months; according to the severity of the TMJ disorder.


#2 Popping Sounds

If you hear any sound when you move your jaw, it could be a symptom of TMJ. You may hear sounds such as clicking, popping, or crunching when you move your lower jaw. However, you should remember that only the sounds may not necessarily indicate TMJ disorder. These sounds can also be cause die to other physical features of the joint.


#3 Limited Jaw Movement

Another common symptom of TMJ disorder is limited movement of the jaw. TMJ can make it difficult to open the jaw without any pain. The muscle strain also prevents people from opening their mouth to the normal distance. In most cases, the patient shows a deviation in jaw movement, as a response to the pain and muscle stress.


#4 Locking of the Jaw

TMJ disorder interferes with the smooth movement of the jaw. This can cause your lower jaw to lock or catch in a particular position – generally when the mouth is open. This may vary from a moment’s jaw arrest to a prolonged locking.


Most signs and symptoms associated with TMJ disorders are temporary and can be relieved by simple treatments.


Treatment for TMJ Disorder

If you experience any of these symptoms or signs of TMJ, you should seek professional attention. You can get a thorough diagnosis and identify the exact triggers for your TMJ disorder. Once the causes are defined, you can seek TMJ treatment in Reston, VA based on your specific situation.


A dentist near you can provide you with a custom oral appliance to fix your bite, prevent teeth grinding and subsequently control TMJ pain. Combined with physical therapy of relaxation techniques, this can help in reducing the stress on your muscles and easing the severity of your TMJ disorder.


Don’t ignore the symptoms of TMJ disorder and take action before the pain becomes severe. Schedule a consultation with our team and relieve your TMJ pain today.