Though it sounds like an issue that is relevant to only those that seem to stress heavily on a regular basis, Tempormandibular Joint Disorder is actually a problem that affects more than 15% of Americans. Affecting the temporomandibular joint, TMD can cause a variety of symptoms that can eventually affect areas outside the joint itself. The joint in question is that which works with your facial muscles allowing your jaw to move. TMD is often caused by grinding and clenching your teeth, an injury to the jaw, arthritis, stress or whiplash. Though pain may be temporary in some instances, symptoms can also last for years and should be checked and treated by your Sterling dentist. These symptoms include:
- Pain in the face or jaw when chewing or speaking or even yawning.
- Sticking or locking jaws in both the open or closed positions.
- Popping, clicking and grating noises whenever chewing.
- Facial swelling.
- Increased amounts of toothaches, headaches.
- Neck and upper shoulder pain.
- Ringing in the ears.
Because these symptoms also mimic other dental problems like tooth decay or gum disease, a full oral examination is important. By testing the movement of your jaw and possible bite problems, taking x-rays and ruling out other problems, your Oconomowoc dentist will be able to fully assess whether you suffer from TMD and set a course of care in order to relieve any symptoms. If needed, your dentist may even refer advanced cases to an oral surgeon or orthodontist in order to ensure that your teeth align properly keeping your jaw and facial muscles and joints work properly.