Am I Suffering From TMJ?
For gum chewers, the risk of a mouth full of cavities and tooth decay is trailed by the vague risk of some jaw locking, dental bogeyman called TMJ. Temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ) is a very real condition that can cause jaw pain, and problems with proper movement and function of the jaw. From the office of Dr. Ralph Mazzuca, your family dentist in Washington, DC, here is more information on this condition.
Common Causes of TMJ
Gum chewing is only one of several risk factors associated with developing TMJ. Jaw pain and discomfort often result from a combination of factors, from arthritis, to jaw injuries and trauma. Your Washington, D.C. family dentist treats patients for simple and complex cases of temporomandibular joint syndrome caused by a number of conditions, including:
- Disk erosion and misalignment
- Arthritis related cartilage deterioration
- Joint damage resulting from forceful impact or trauma
- Joint dislocation
Lifestyle factors that can also affect joint alignment and cause pain and TMJ include:
- Grinding the teeth
- Stress and anxiety
- Poor posture
- Chewing gum
Symptoms of TMJ
- Jaw pain and tenderness
- Aches and pains around the ear
- Trouble with and discomfort while chewing
- Facial aches and pains
- Joint "locking" that prevents proper opening and closing of the mouth
- "Clicking" and "popping" sound when opening the mouth
- Tooth pain and sensitivity
Anyone can develop TMJ, but it is most common among young women between the ages of 20 and 40.
Dr. Mazzuca offers several treatment options at his family dental practice, depending on the cause and severity of the condition. TMJ is generally treated with muscle relaxers, pain relievers like aspirin and nighttime mouth guards. Severe cases of the condition that are caused by joint deterioration or deformities to the jaw bone may require dental surgery.
Contact a Family Dentist in Washington, DC
To learn more about TMJ symptoms and treatment options, contact Dr. Ralph Mazzuca at (202) 537-1088 to schedule an appointment today.