TMJ pain

The TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, is as important as it is problematic. It's important because it connects the skull to the jaw and helps with things like chewing, biting, and opening and closing the mouth. However, this joint is also problematic and many people experience TMJ pain as a result. TMJ pain ranges from minor to severe, and it's a pain that can be temporary or long-term. This post will take a closer look at TMJ pain, risk factors and how it's treated.

Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Dysfunction

TMJ pain varies from mild to severe, but the signs and symptoms stay fairly consistent. Here's a look at some of the key signs and symptoms of TMJ:

  • Reoccurring headaches
  • Pain or tenderness in the jaw
  • Trouble chewing
  • Facial aches or pains
  • Tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears
  • A clicking sound during the opening and closing of the mouth
  • Locking of the jaw, making it difficult to open and close the mouth

Learn more about the signs and symptoms of TMJ dysfunction.

Who's at Risk for TMJ Dysfunction?

Technically, everyone is at risk for TMJ dysfunction. However, there are certain factors that can put people more at risk for developing TMJ disorder symptoms than others. Some of these risk factors include:

  • A facial injury
  • Suffering from different types of arthritis, notably rheumatoid and osteoarthritis
  • Connective tissue disorders or diseases
  • Grinding or clenching the teeth
  • An overbite or underbite
  • Genetics

Treating TMJ Dysfunction

How is TMJ pain treated? It's worth noting that for the majority of people, TMJ pain will eventually go away on its own, making it just a temporary inconvenience. However, until it does (or if it persists long-term), there are other ways it can be managed and treated. Here's a brief overview:

  • Over-the-counter painkillers can help manage pain when it becomes too much.
  • Facial massages: You can see a masseuse or learn how to do this on your own.
  • Ice it: Icing the painful areas can help relieve swelling and pain in affected areas.
  • Orthodontic or dental treatment: If teeth grinding or clenching is believed to be the reason for TMJ pain, a bite guard can help alleviate symptoms. In other cases, orthodontic work may be necessary to treat underbites or overbites.
  • Surgery: Though this is usually a last-ditch resort and typically only administered in situations where TMJ pain is debilitating, surgery is a corrective option.

Learn more about how fast you can expect to get relief from TMJ pain.

 If TMJ pain is becoming a bother to the point where it's affecting your quality of life, it's best to see a dentist today. For more information on the TMJ and managing pain associated with it, contact Kanehl Dental