Pain in the jaw could be a symptom of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), a complicated cluster of often painful jaw disorders that affect people of all ages. TMD can affect as much as 12 percent of the population. TMD is shrouded in confusion. If you suspect TMD, getting the facts from Cityview Dental Arts in Chicago, Illinois, is a wise first step.
Types of TMD
TMD is often difficult to recognize as the signs and symptoms can range and vary. There are three main categories of TMD:
- Myofascial pain: The most common form of TMD, it causes discomfort and often pain in the jaw.
- Internal temporomandibular joint derangement: A misalignment or displacement of a part of the jaw joint causes this type of TMD.
- Degenerative joint disease: Abnormal wear and tear to the jaw joint, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
TMD symptoms to watch out for
TMD often causes jaw pain, tenderness, and aching. Pain could also center on one or both TMJs themselves, but it’s also possible that you feel TMD pain throughout your face, typically as an ache without a definable point of origin. Common TMD symptoms are:
- Pain when chewing
- Limited jaw movement
- Clicking or popping sounds for the jaw
- Swelling on the affected side of the face
- Achy facial muscles
- Hearing problems
Potential TMD causes
As with other joints in your body, the bones of your upper and lower jaw are covered with cartilage around the areas of movement. In addition, the TMJ has a small pad on both sides of your face that acts as a cushion and helps to keep jaw motion smooth.
This pad can move out of place or breakdown, impacting the alignment and movement of your jaw, resulting in TMD symptoms. Any damage to the cartilage covering jaw bones can cause pain as bone rubs against bone.
Who’s at risk for TMD?
In many cases the cause of TMD is unknown. However, there are conditions that increase your risk of developing TMD, such as:
- Having some form of arthritis
- Having a connective tissue disease
- Teeth grinding
- An injury to the jaw
When to seek dental care for TMD
It’s unlikely that TMD will go away on its own. Left untreated, symptoms of TMD can get worse and impact your quality of life. It’s time to seek dental care when you experience moderate-to-severe symptoms or when symptoms interfere with your everyday life.
Dr. Jermone Block is passionate about restoring and maintaining healthy smiles and understands the complexities of TMD. When you visit us for a comprehensive evaluation, Dr. Block will get to the bottom of your jaw pain and recommend appropriate treatment. Call the office or request an appointment using the convenient online tool to arrange your personal consultation today.