The technical name for the human jaw is a real mouthful: temporomandibular joint, usually shortened to TMJ. It’s a complex joint, and a lot of things lead to problems. At Decatur Smiles we treat jaw pain, in particular a condition known as TMD.
The TMJ is unique in how it lets you move your jaw from side to side, front to back, and open and closed. All that mobility contributes to jaw pain, which may be in the joint itself, or in the muscles that let you move it.
Finding the exact cause of jaw pain can be difficult. It may be caused by sinusitis, the inflammation of the tissues that line your sinuses. When these tissues are inflamed, the sinuses exert pressure on surrounding areas. If the inflamed sinus is near the jaw, pain in the jaw joint may result. This commonly happens with a cold or allergies.
Apart from sinusitis, there are three common TMJ disorders:
- Muscle complications. The muscles that move the jaw do a lot of work. Excessive chewing and talking, opening the jaw too wide, or clenching and grinding the teeth can all lead to pain.
- Joint and disc displacement. These result from trauma to the joint or its disc, which is soft cartilage that acts as a kind of shock absorber.
- Arthritis. Arthritis, unfortunately, can affect any of your joints. Arthritis in the jaw is usually caused by a missing or deformed disc.
At Decatur Smiles in Decatur AL, we can recommend a course of TMD treatment. Other services include general dentistry. If you’re experiencing jaw pain or another dental issue, please schedule an appointment with us today.