Experiencing Jaw Pain: Could it be TMJ disorder?

Experiencing Jaw Pain: Could it be TMJ disorder?

TMJ RichmondJaw pain can be a sign of a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, so if you are experiencing this symptom, you should be evaluated by an oral surgeon to determine if this condition is present. A proper diagnosis is the first step in eliminating jaw pain.

The jaw is a complex joint, composed of numerous bones, muscles and tendons. Those components all need to work together to facilitate the jaw’s movement in multiple planes. When even one part of the jaw isn’t functioning properly, a TMJ disorder can develop.

Other signs of TMJ disorder may include clicking, popping or locking of the jaw, facial or ear pain, difficulty chewing, and stiffness of the jaw. Changes in the bite, bruxism (teeth grinding), or noticeable wear on the teeth also may indicate a TMJ problem. Any of these symptoms warrant a call to an oral surgeon for examination. [pullquote]Drawing on expertise in the various structures of the jaw, the surgeon will gather data to confirm a diagnosis of TMJ disorder.[/pullquote]

Drawing on expertise in the various structures of the jaw, the surgeon will gather data to confirm a diagnosis of TMJ disorder. This includes the visual inspection of your jaws and your bite and x-rays to illustrate the jaw’s internal structure.

If you are diagnosed with TMJ disorder, the surgeon will recommend treatment based on your specific case. When the muscles are involved, conservative treatments such as physical therapy, massage or medications may be effective at relieving the symptoms. Orthodontics may also be recommended to adjust the bite, if necessary.

However, if there is a defect in the jaw, surgery may be needed to correct that problem before the patient will experience a reduction in discomfort. For example, the surgeon may need to do an arthroscopic procedure or reconstruct the joint. However, these interventions are only indicated when more conservative measures have failed to resolve the issue.

Jaw pain may signal a TMJ disorder, and the jaw may continue to deteriorate without treatment. Patients who are experiencing this symptom should contact our team at Commonwealth Oral & Facial Surgery to schedule an examination and learn about their TMJ treatment options.