TMJ pain is more common than you think! About 12% of adults suffer from pain in their jaw joints and muscles.
The TMJ (short for the Temporo-Mandibular Joint) is one of the most complex joints in our body. It connects the moveable lower jaw to the base of the skull and allows movements forward, backward, and side-to-side. This joint gets used frequently every day – the TMJ is the joint that allows you to chew, speak, swallow, and yawn. And furthermore, since both sides are connected together by our lower jaw bone (mandible), a problem on one side can lead to downstream effects on both sides of the head and neck.
When there is a problem with the TMJ, it is referred to as TMD (Temporo-Mandibular Disorder). Unlike most other musculoskeletal and chronic pain conditions, it is more likely to occur in younger patients between 18 and 45. Most commonly, TMJ is caused by muscular pain, which can be exacerbated by oral habits such as grinding or clenching the teeth, stress, and anxiety. TMD can also be caused by trauma or joint disorders such as osteoarthritis or an internal displacement of the joint itself.
Symptoms of TMD (dysfunction of the TMJ) include:
Luckily, there are a number of ways to treat TMJ pain including:
At McCabe Family Dentistry, Dr. Rory and Liz McCabe are expertly trained to help you manage your TMJ pain. We offer custom-fitted nightguards made with a highly accurate digital scanner (no more goop!). We also offer neuromodulator treatment with Botox and Dysport to help you manage your pain.