Like many folks, you are experiencing pain in your jaw while you chew or have jaw stiffness and are looking for relief - we’ve got your back at All Coast Dental in Pacific Beach, CA. This pain or odd movement falls under a disease category called temporomandibular disorders, or TMDs. Dr. Julie Boulos and Dr. Joseph Boulos are a team you can rely on to identify the source of the issue and help you address pain.
What are TMD and TMJ?
More than 30 different conditions can cause pain or dysfunctional movement of the jaw joint and muscles. These conditions are grouped under the name temporomandibular disorders. Colloquially, you may also hear people refer to this as TMJ, though that is a misnomer. TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint, which is often the source of the issue.
TMDs have three different classes or categories:
- Joint disorders, including disc disorders
- Muscle disorders of the muscles used for chewing
- Headaches caused by TMD
Some TMDs will be short-lived and can go away independently, but others may be long-lasting. These disorders are twice as common in women, especially women between 35- 44.
TMD symptoms include pain in the jaw joint or chewing muscles, painful clicking or popping in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth, limited movement or jaw locking, or other symptoms. If you hear sounds like popping or clicking, but it is not painful, that is normal and does not indicate TMD that will need treatment.
What causes TMD?
A jaw or joint injury can cause TMD, or it may start from a less obvious cause. A combination of genetics and life stressors can trigger this condition.
Some TMDs can occur independently, or the onset can coincide with other medical conditions, such as sleep problems, back pain, headaches, irritable bowel disease, or fibromyalgia.
There is ongoing research into causes that may help inform future treatments. For example, because TMDs are more common in women, researchers are investigating differences in structure between males and females and how that affects TMD.
How do you treat TMD?
Treatment will vary depending on what kind of TMD you have. For many, symptoms of TMD go away without treatment or with nonsurgical treatments such as heat or cold therapy or eating soft foods. Physical therapy, mental health approaches, or medications may also help if it is more complex or chronic. Please consult us at All Coast Dental in California to determine your next step.
Call (858) 270-4904 to schedule an appointment at All Coast Dental in Pacific Beach, CA, and we’ll give you the tools you need to reduce your jaw pain.