When you think of the term TMJ you probably think of a disorder that causes pain in the jaw. But the term TMJ actually simply refers to a hinged joint in the jaw: the temporomandibular joint. This is the joint that allows your jaw to move in order to chew and speak. When people experience pain and suffering related to the temporomandibular joint, that condition is known as TMD or temporomandibular joint disorder. Here are some more facts about TMJ/TMD.
A temporomandibular joint disorder tends to affect women ages 20 to 40, though it can affect anyone at any age range. The cause of TMD is not always understood, but your Turlock CA dentist can help you uncover behaviors or injuries that may relate to the disorder.
Symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder include:
- Facial fatigue/tiredness
- Tenderness around the jaw, ears, neck, shoulders
- Pain around the jaw, ears, and neck
- Pain and discomfort in the shoulders
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Limited jaw movement
- Clicking or popping in the jaw
- Swelling in the jaw
If you experience these or similar symptoms, contact your dentist right away for an evaluation. You may want to see a dentist who specializes in treating TMJ disorder as not all dentists necessarily offer this service. Dr. Cesar Acosta at Acosta Family Dentistry in Turlock, CA treats TMJ/TMD.
When you see your dentist about chronic jaw pain, they may inquire whether you’ve had any recent head injuries including whiplash, perhaps from a car accident or a fall. TMJ/TMD can also be caused by grinding or clenching of the teeth, jaw dislocation, or even stress.
Even though experts may not always be able to pinpoint the exact cause of TMD, there are treatments available to help relieve pain and discomfort. If you experience these symptoms, seek professional care as early as possible to limit your discomfort. If you believe you may have TMJ disorder, schedule an appointment with your Turlock, CA dentist Dr. Acosta today to find out how treatment can help you.