07 Jan Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
The jaw is one of the most complex joints in the body, consisting of numerous bones, discs and muscles among other supporting structures. While this complexity facilitates the jaw’s movement in various planes that is necessary for speaking and chewing, it also presents ample opportunity for problems to develop.
When a problem does arise with the jaw, it is often classified as a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. This category encompasses a variety of issues that cause pain in the area of the jaw.
That pain in the lower portion of the face is a hallmark sign of a TMJ disorder.
An oral surgeon may ask patients about other symptoms when attempting to diagnose a TMJ disorder. Clicking or popping of the jaw during chewing can indicate TMJ disorder, as can a problem with the jaw locking.
Even some issues that appear to be unrelated to the jaw joint can result from TMJ disorder, such as dizziness, hearing problems, earaches and headaches.
TMJ disorders can be caused by a number of factors, including injury to the jaw, congenital defects, stress and arthritis in the jaw, to name a few. The oral surgeon will examine your jaw and take x-rays to get a better view of the way the bones meet. This will help the oral surgeon to diagnose the condition.
A course of treatment for TMJ disorder will be decided based on the underlying cause. Although an oral surgeon may be involved in treatment, the intervention won’t necessarily be an invasive one. For example, if there do not appear to be any structural defects and the TMJ disorder seems to be caused by teeth grinding or some other reaction to stress, the stress management may be recommended.
In other cases, orthodontics or oral surgery may be required to reposition the jaw and eliminate the cause of the TMJ disorder. The surgeon may also explore various pain management strategies to help the patient control his or her symptoms.
If you have been experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder, schedule an evaluation with our experienced and dedicated team at Great River Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery to pursue a diagnosis and learn more about your treatment options.