The Temporomandibular Joint is a hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull, which are in front of each ear. It lets you move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, and yawn. Problems with your jaw and the muscles in your face that control it are known as Temporomandibular Dysfunction (TMD). Symptoms tend to arise from problems with the muscles of your jaw or with the parts of the joint itself.
Causes of TMD can be:
- Poor bite
- Injury to the head or neck from either a heavy blow or whiplash
- Grinding or clenching your teeth
- Stress, which causes tension in your facial muscles
- Arthritis in the joint
Symptoms of TMD include:
- Pain or tenderness in your face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide
- Problems when you try to open your mouth wide
- Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open- or closed-mouth position – Commonly known as Lock Jaw
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew. This may or may not be painful.
- A tired feeling in your face
- Trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite, as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly
- Swelling on the side of your face
- Toothaches, headaches, neck aches, dizziness, earaches, upper shoulder pain, hearing problems and ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
There are a variety of treatment options for the symptoms of TMD. Please give our office a call to schedule a consultation to discuss your symptoms and a course of treatment.