TMJ Disorders: How Do I Know if My Jaw Needs Treatment? By Dr. John Goodman on April 30, 2024

woman with a sore jaw

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), or jaw joint, is one of the most complicated and active joints in the body. When the joint is not correctly aligned, it results in TMJ disorder (TMD).

TMD is more than just clicking, popping, and locking of the jaw. It can affect different aspects of your health and wellness.

Wonder if you have TMD? The team at John Goodman, DDS in Kansas CityMO, is here to help. Let’s look at symptoms, causes, and potential treatments for TMJ disorder and when your jaw joint doesn’t function right.

Common Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

Some of the most common symptoms and warning signs of TMJ disorder include the following:

  • Jaw pain and soreness
  • Popping or clicking in the jaw
  • Limited ability to open mouth
  • Lockjaw or jaw stiffness
  • Toothaches
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Earaches
  • Ringing in the ear (tinnitus)

If you notice any of the above, it’s a good idea to set up an appointment at our office as soon as possible.

TMJ Disorder Causes and Risk Factors

The potential causes and risk factors of a TMJ disorder vary. Here are some common ones we see in our patients.

Injuries to the Jaw

If you had a bad fall, were involved in a physical altercation or car crash, or experienced face of head trauma at work or while playing sports, these can all potentially contribute to TMJ disorder.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Grinding your teeth at night while you sleep places a great deal of tension on the jaw joint. Over time, this nocturnal wear and tear can affect the normal movement and function of the jaw.

Poor Tooth Alignment (Malocclusion)

When your teeth aren’t properly aligned or don’t seem to fit comfortably with your mouth closed, it can cause your jaw to shift unconsciously in order to find a relaxed position. This is another factor in teeth grinding cases.

Arthritis of the Jaw Joint

The TMJ can be affected by osteoarthritis just like any other joint in the body. Proper diagnosis and treatment of TMD are important to consider as patients age.

Excessive Stress

Stress is a contributing factor to so many health problems. That includes teeth grinding and subsequent TMJ disorders.

How TMD Is Diagnosed

When you visit our dental office in Kansas City, MO, we will discuss which symptoms you have experienced. We’ll review your dental and medical health along with any other potential contributing factors.

As part of the full examination, we will take detailed x-rays of your jaw joint as well as your teeth. This will help us examine how your teeth fit together, the structures of the jaw, and other facial structures that could be contributing to the problem.

Treating TMD for Long-Term Relief

The best treatment for you will depend on the cause or causes we can identify. We may create a custom night guard to treat teeth grinding, which reduces the stress on the jaw joint. We may also recommend orthodontic care to improve tooth alignment as part of the treatment plan.

This can all be discussed in more detail during your visit.

Find Out if You Have TMJ Disorder

To request a consultation to examine your jaw and devise a treatment plan for your oral health problems, contact our office in Kansas City today. We look forward to hearing from you.

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John P. Goodman, DDS

John P. Goodman, DDS We Give Kansas City a Reason to Smile!

Dr. John Goodman has more than two decades of experience serving the community of Kansas City, MO. He offers a comprehensive range of services to address all types of dental problems, and he accepts CareCredit® financing to make treatment as accessible as possible. 

To request a consultation, please fill out our online form or call us at (816) 842-8585.

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