Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) are a collection of conditions that affect how your jaw moves. TMJ disorders can make it painful to open your mouth wide or close it tightly. If you have one of these conditions, you may also experience tightness, sore jaw muscles, gum bleeding or sores in the mouth, pain when chewing food, and a clicking sound when you move your jaw. Barry Chase DDS can determine if you have an overuse injury, TMJD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction), or other underlying problems that require additional evaluation and treatment.
Many different factors can contribute to the development of TMJ disorders. These include:
The older you are, the more likely it is that your jaw is going to hurt. That is because as you get older, your joints often become less mobile and less able to handle the movements that you make with your jaws. As a result, more wear and tear on your joints can lead to inflammation and pain.
Previous dental problems
The most common cause of TMJ problems is an overuse of the jaw, which may occur due to a previous dental issue, such as a bad bite. The jaw becomes overused, causing muscles to tighten and become painful. This condition is called bruxism, and doctors can treat it with exercises that help strengthen your jaw muscles.
The family history of TMJ disorders is probably the most crucial factor. If you have a family member who has suffered from TMJ disorders, you are more likely to develop them yourself. The same thing applies if your parents or grandparents have had TMJ disorders.
Abnormal jaw muscles
The muscles inside your mouth support your teeth and keep them in place while you chew food and speak. When these muscles become damaged or weak due to aging or genetics, they can no longer support your teeth properly, which can cause pain when chewing on hard foods such as ice cream or popcorn. This condition is known as non-syndromic myofascial pain syndrome (NMPS), also known as myofascial pain syndrome of the temporomandibular joint (MPTMS).
You may be more likely to develop TMJ disorders if you have a stressful life situation or are dealing with financial difficulties. Stress can cause muscle tension in many body areas, increasing pressure in your jaw muscles and leading to painful symptoms such as muscle spasms, migraines, and TMJ disorders.
Poor oral hygiene habits such as inadequate brushing and flossing can lead to plaque build-up on your teeth, eventually leading to tooth decay or gum disease if left untreated for too long. In addition, poor chewing habits may contribute to tooth decay and stress fractures on your teeth. Chewing gum with your mouth open may also exacerbate these issues because it opens up the space.
Treatment for this condition depends on your type of disorder and its severity. If you have a simple case of mild or moderate pain, you may be able to treat it at home with over-the-counter medications or oral appliances. If your TMJ disorder is more serious, you may need surgery to correct it or learn techniques to manage your symptoms at home. Talk to your doctor about diagnosis and treatment options if you suspect you have any TMJ disorder. Contact Chase Dental Sleepcare and book an appointment with a specialist to learn more about TMJ disorders.