February 24, 2024

Litum Health

Health Blog

What Are TMJ Disorders? 

2 min read

TMJ disorders are ailments that affect the jaw joints and the ligaments and muscles surrounding them. Trauma, arthritis, an improper bite, or wear and tear can all contribute to it. Jaw soreness, headaches, earaches, and facial pain are common symptoms. Talk to a Denver, CO dentist to learn more. 

What does TMJ mean?

TMJ is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint. The temporomandibular joints are placed on both sides of your face, immediately in front of your ears. The TMJs are the joints that link your lower jawbone to your skull and aid in actions such as eating and speaking. 

What does TMD mean?

TMD is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint disorder. TMD refers to any TMJ issue. Many people interchange the phrases TMD and TMJ. TMJ dysfunction occurs when the ligaments and muscles surrounding your jaw joints become inflamed or irritated. The illness can be temporary or chronic, and the pain it causes might be modest or severe. 

What causes the temporomandibular joint disorder?

Injury to the jaw joints or the tissues that surround them might result in TMJ dysfunction. Additional causes of TMD include: 

  • An improper bite. 
  • Bruxism or clenching/grinding of teeth. 
  • Acute trauma. 
  • Dislocation of the disc between the ball and socket joint. 
  • Stress. 
  • Arthritis in the TMJ. 

What are common TMJ symptoms?

TMJ dysfunction is most prominent in those aged 20 to 40, affecting women more than males. The following are some of the most prevalent TMJ symptoms: 

  • Earaches. 
  • Headaches.
  • Jaw pain.
  • Jaws that “lock” in the open- or closed-mouth position. 
  • Difficulty opening your mouth wide.
  • Pain in the neck or shoulders.
  • Difficulty chewing.
  • A tired feeling on your face.
  • Clicking, grating sounds, or popping in the jaw joint when closing or opening your mouth.
  • Tooth pain.
  • Swelling on the side of your face.
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together.
  • Tinnitus, or ringing in your ears.

How is TMJ dysfunction diagnosed? 

TMJ issue is typically diagnosed during a dental visit. Your medical professional will: 

  • Examine your mouth’s range of motion as you open and close it. 
  • Determine regions of discomfort by pressing on your face and jaw. 
  • Feel about your jaw joints when you close and open your mouth. 

Radiographs (X-rays) may also be used to examine the jaw joints and identify the extent of the damage. They could include: 

  • MRI scans 
  • CBCT scans 
  • Panoramic X-rays 

For more care and treatment, you may be sent to a specialist. TMJ dysfunction is treated by an oral maxillofacial surgeon specializing in addressing skeletal disorders. If you suspect you may have TMD, visit a dentist today.