Common Signs of TMJ
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the upper and lower jaw to the skull and allows for forward and lateral movement (also known as a sliding hinge joint). Like all joints in the body, the TMJ is susceptible to inflammation and injury which causes pain, stiffness, and even the ability to properly open and close the mouth in serious cases. Also known as TMD (temporomandibular disorder), the condition is known to affect up to ten million Americans according to National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. TMJ symptoms can range from mild to severe, and even lead to locking, where the mouth remains in the open or closed position, in extreme cases. Dr. Elmer Villalon in Pueblo, CO, offers diagnostic and treatment options for temporomandibular disorders.
TMJ/TMD Diagnosis and Treatment in Pueblo, CO
The most common symptom of TMJ is pain and tenderness in the jaw. You may also experience pain while chewing, or around the ears or other parts of the face. Some people also experience a "popping" sensation in the joints. TMJ can also cause the jaw to lock in the open or closed position.
What Causes TMJ?
Damage to the joint, in the form of an injury or a debilitating condition like arthritis can lead TMJ symptoms. There are also a number of risk factors that can increase your risk, but some cases develop without an obvious cause. Some of the other risk factors include:
- Wear and tear on the joint from years of clenching or teeth grinding
- Problems with the joint's connective tissue
Treatment options depend on the severity of your symptoms and the extent of damage to the joint. Medication and physical therapy are usually the first forms of treatment, but surgery is sometimes recommended in rare cases that do not respond to conservative treatment.
Find a Dentist in Pueblo, CO
If you are suffering from TMD symptoms or other dental issues, contact our office by calling 719-542-7844 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Villalon today.