If you’re having pain in your jaw area, you’re not alone. In fact, according to dentist Columbia Dr. Gregory Wych, more than 15 percent of American adults suffer from prolonged facial pain, such as jaw pain, headaches or earaches.
The source of these aches and pains may be related to one or both of the temporomandibular (TM) joints, which are located on each side of your head. These TM joints work together, with a complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones, to aid chewing and speaking.
What is TMD?
Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) refers to conditions that affect the TM joints, jaw muscles and facial nerves and may result when the jaw twists during opening, closing or side-motion movements. Your dentist Columbia advises that people with TMD may experience these symptoms:
- Pain in or around the ear;
- Headaches and neck aches;
- Tenderness of the jaw or jaw muscles;
- Jaw pain or soreness that is more prevalent in the morning or late afternoon;
- Jaw pain when chewing, biting or yawning;
- Difficulty opening and closing the mouth;
- Clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth;
- Sensitive teeth when no other dental problems can be found.
TMD affects more than twice as many women as men and is the most common chronic facial pain that is non-dental related. Your dentist Columbia finds that the condition is usually caused by arthritis, an improper bite or injury to the jaw.
Diagnosis is an important step prior to treatment. However, because the exact causes and telltale signs of TMD are not clear, diagnosing these disorders can be difficult. There is currently no widely accepted, standard test that can identify TMD correctly.
Keep in mind that for most people, the discomfort they experience from TMD will eventually go away whether treated or not. If treatment is needed by your dentist Columbia, it should be conservative and reversible. Avoid, if at all possible, treatments that cause permanent changes in the bite or jaw. If irreversible treatments are recommended, be sure to get a reliable second opinion.
If you feel that you may be suffering from the effects of TMD or are experiencing any pain in any area of your face, don’t delay! Call the office of dentist Columbia Dr. Gregory Wych today to schedule an appointment!