Jaw Pain Problems
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders are problems that affect your jaw joint, and the muscles in your face that allow you to chew. It is a small ball-and-socket joint that can be felt by placing your fingers in front of your ear, and opening and closing your mouth.
According to studies, 20%-30% of people experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorders, and most agree that women are much more likely than men to develop symptoms. Causes of TMJ disorders are known to include trauma to the jaw, grinding of the teeth, tension or stress, poor tooth alignment. Also, some general medical problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and tumors can produce negative results.
Symptoms can be very painful, and can last weeks, months, even years. Most will experience one or more of the following symptoms: pain and tenderness in the joint, especially when chewing; “lock-jaw” (mouth is stuck open or closed); facial muscle spasms; clicking, popping or cracking sounds or a grating sensation in the jaw when you open or close your mouth; and headaches.
Only in sever cases is surgery necessary. With proper care and control of habits, the symptoms should go away. Other cases, such as those involving arthritis or people with long-standing or severe bruxism, may take longer.
Your dentist will examine how your jaw moves and probe the TMJ and muscles of your jaw and neck for signs of tenderness to pinpoint the problem. If you are experiencing pain in your jaw, call to make an appointment with your dentist to determine if you have a TMJ disorder.