Symptoms and Causes of a TMJ Disorder
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders are generally exhibited as a soreness or pain in the two joints on either side of the face which connect the jawbone to the skull. The muscles associated with these joints may also feel soreness or pain, for some reason. So what causes that jaw pain? There are several possible causes, including simple genetics, some kind of traumatic injury, arthritis, bruxism (grinding of teeth), or sometimes a combination of causes.
Signs of TMJ disorder
There are several symptoms of a TMJ disorder, so you’ll know what you’re dealing with:
- Jaw pain, discomfort or popping around the joints
- Pain, discomfort or ‘stuffy’ feeling in the ears
- Tenderness around the jawbone
- Pain while chewing, or difficulty when chewing
- Locking of the TMJ joint, which makes opening or closing your mouth difficult.
Causes of TMJ disorder
The temporomandibular joint actually combines sliding motion with a hinge action when in use. Those bones that touch when in action are protected by cartilage which covers them, and they’re also separated by a disk that serves as a kind of shock-absorber. This will normally keep the action smooth, but if the cartilage should become worn, all this can break down quickly. Factors which tend to increase the risk of developing TMJ disorder include the following:
- some type of traumatic injury to the jaw
- long-term clenching or grinding of the teeth (bruxism)
- cartilage in the jawbone is damaged by arthritis
- the disk erodes or it moves out of position
- rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis
- connective tissue diseases which affect the jawbone and the connective tissue associated with it.