Symptoms and Causes of a TMJ Disorder

Breathing and Sleep Center of Colorado Springs

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.

Most of the time, any pain or soreness associated with TMJ disorder can be managed at home, and it will eventually go away. However, there are some persistent cases that eventually require seeing your dentist. In Colorado Springs, you can find the exact cause of your TMJ pain by visiting the Breathing and Sleep Center to be examined, diagnosed, and treated. A big part of what we do at The Center focuses on sleep apnea and sleep disordered breathing, but we also treat headaches, migraines, and temporomandibular disorders (TMD).

Signs of TMJ disorder 

There are several symptoms of a TMJ disorder, so you’ll know what you’re dealing with:

  • Headaches
  • 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.
If there isn’t any pain associated with your TMJ symptoms, then you probably don’t need to seek medical attention. If pain becomes noticeable or if it persists for an unusual amount of time, you should then seek the advice of your family physician.

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.
If you should experience any of the symptoms described above, and they don’t seem to be going away, you should contact the Breathing and Sleep Center in Colorado Springs. There are experts here who can pinpoint the cause of your issue, and help you get back to normal as quickly as possib


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