What Is TMJ Disorder?

Closeup of a blue gloved hand pointing to the TMJ on the side of a fake skull

TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint. Everyone has two, one on each side of the face, located in front of the ears. These joints connect the jaw to the skull. When something goes wrong with one or both joints, everyday things like speaking or chewing can become challenging.

What Is TMJ Dysfunction?

Though many patients tend to use the acronym TMJ to describe any problem with the temporomandibular joints, TMJ dysfunction/disorder/syndrome or TMD correctly describes the wide range of conditions that can cause pain or disorder of these joints.

For some patients, TMJ disorder can be extremely painful and significantly decreases their quality of life. For others, the condition comes and goes and only temporarily interferes with their daily activities. Regardless of how severe your condition is, it’s important to seek professional help when any symptoms appear before they get worse.

Signs of TMJ Disorder

  • Jaw pain that can radiate to the neck and rest of the face
  • Frequent headaches
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Clicking or popping in the jaw
  • Lock jaw
  • Ringing in the ears

What Can Cause TMJ Disorder?

The TMJ is one of the most consistently used joints in the body. Pain, discomfort, and dysfunction can happen for a variety of reasons. You may be genetically predisposed to experience TMJ issues, and sometimes your habits can contribute to its dysfunction.

  • Genetics
  • Grinding or teeth clenching
  • Chronic stress and anxiety
  • Misalignment of the jaw
  • Injuries to the jaw
  • Arthritis
  • Excessive gum chewing
  • Bite misalignment

TMJ Treatment

If you’re experiencing the signs of TMJ disorder, you’re likely wondering how to treat the unpleasant sensations! There are both home remedies and professional treatments that can help. For example, eating softer foods, avoiding chewing gum, using a nightguard to prevent teeth grinding, aligning the teeth and jaw with orthodontics, physical therapy, and BOTOX injections could all help.

At River Stone Dental Center, we help patients find ways to relieve jaw issues with TMJ therapy in Germantown, MD. Contact us today to schedule a consultation so you can obtain a diagnosis and treatment plan.

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