TMJ (short for temporomandibular) is a pair of joints on each side of your head connecting your jawbone to your skull, acting like a sliding hinge. TMJ disorders can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control your jaw’s movement.
TMJ Dysfunction Signs and Symptoms
The exact cause of a TMJ dysfunction is often hard to pinpoint because it may be due to a combination of factors, such as genetics, arthritis, or jaw injury. However, the signs and symptoms include:
- Pain and tenderness in your jaw
- Pain in either or both of the TMJ joints
- A throbbing pain in and around your ear
- Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
- Facial pain
- Locking of the TMJ joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
- A clicking sound or grating sensation when you chew or open your mouth
Studying the anatomy of the TMJ joint may help to better understand the cause of the disorder. The parts of the bones that interact within the TMJ joint are covered with cartilage and are separated by a small, shock-absorbing disk. Painful TMJ disorders may occur if this disk erodes or moves out of its proper alignment or if it is damaged by a blow or other impact.
To diagnose TMJ disorder, your doctor will listen to and feel your jaw when you open and close your mouth, observe the range of motion in your jaw, and/or press on areas around your jaw to identify sites of pain or discomfort. If a problem is suspected, X-rays, a CT scan, or MRI may also be recommended to provide detailed images of the bones involved or to reveal a specific problem with the joint’s disk or surrounding soft tissue.
In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ dysfunction is temporary and may go away with treatment or, if it persists, can be relieved with self-managed care or nonsurgical treatments that include:
- Dry Needling
- Active Release Technique
- PRP Therapy
- Prolozone Injections
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Non-drug therapies, such as oral splints or mouth guards, heat and ice, and physical therapy exercises to stretch and strengthen jaw muscles
TMJ Dysfunction Treatment in Dallas, Texas
If you have persistent pain or tenderness in your jaw, or if you can’t open or close your jaw completely, let the experienced specialists at Reagan Integrated Sports Medicine discuss possible causes and treatments for your problem. Call us today at (972) 503-7272 or use our convenient online Scheduling App and book you consultation now.