Temporomandibular Joint: Small Joint, Big Jaw Pain

Jaw Pain

27 Oct Temporomandibular Joint: Small Joint, Big Jaw Pain

It is estimated that nearly 10 million Americans are affected by temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) each year. While this disorder may cause a big pain, the root of the problem is in fact small.

What is the TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a small hinge joint that connects the lower jaw to the temporal bone at the side of the head, just in front of the ear. Because the joint is flexible, your jaw is able to move smoothly and you are able to do things like talk, chew, and yawn.

The TM Joint is one of the most complex joints in the entire body. It is attached to and surrounded by several muscles, bones, and tendons that work cooperatively to allow the jaw to move in all directions.

What is a TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorders are compromised of a host of problems related to the TM Joint and the surrounding structures involved. Symptoms of TMJ disorders may differ in severity and scope for each person; however, common symptoms include:

  • Pain, especially when chewing or opening the mouth
  • Jaw stiffness
  • Limited movement of the jaw or inability to open the mouth
  • Headaches
  • Radiating pain in the face, neck, or shoulders
  • Painful clicking or popping of the jaw
  • Upper and lower teeth that don’t seem to fit together


What Causes TMJ Disorders?

The exact cause of TMJ disorders is not known and may be different for every person. There are, however, multiple factors that may contribute to problems with the joint and surrounding structures. One of the most commonly believed potential causes is trauma or injury to the jaw or neck region such as whiplash or a heavy blow. Other potential causes include grinding or clenching of the teeth, arthritis in the TMJ, displacement of the disc, or stress, which may cause a person to frequently clench the jaw or tighten facial muscles.

TMJ disorders are far more common in women than men. In fact, nearly 90% of patients seeking TMJ treatment are female. Typically, patients get TMJ disorders between the age of 20 and 40.

Diagnosis and Treatment for TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorders can be difficult to diagnose, and treatment options vary widely depending on the patient and the severity of symptoms. Dr. Mazen Duraini can perform a thorough evaluation to help determine the cause of any discomfort that may be occurring and discuss potential treatment options.

Don’t suffer any longer. If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms of a TMJ disorder call Dr. Duraini to set up a consultation today.

Contact Dr. Duraini

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