Do I Have TMJ Disorder? Common Symptoms and Risk Factors
TMJ disorder is an uncomfortable condition that affects the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects the jaw to the lower skull. The joint controls the jaw’s movement and allows the mouth to open and close so a person can speak, bite, and chew. Individuals who develop TMJ disorder may experience painful symptoms and compromised jaw functions.
TMJ disorder often goes untreated because people do not recognize the warning signs. Dr. Andrew G. Mortensen diagnoses and treats TMJ disorder at his Fountain Valley, CA, dental practice. Individuals who suspect they have TMJ disorder should know common symptoms and risk factors that may indicate it’s time to seek diagnosis.
TMJ Risk Factors
Anyone can develop TMJ disorder, but some triggers increase the likelihood. Some risk factors commonly associated with TMJ disorder include:
- A family history of the condition
- Bruxism (clenching or grinding the teeth)
- Malocclusion problems or orthodontic issues
- Sleep apnea
- Heightened stress or anxiety
- Previous injury to the jaw, head, or neck
- Regular gum chewing
- Frequently biting down on or eating hard or sticky foods
Although it is not known why, TMJ disorder is more common among women than men. The risk of the condition also increases as a person ages. People naturally lose bone density as they get older, which makes the jaw weaker and more prone to TMJ disorder.
TMJ Symptoms and Warning Signs
Recognizing the symptoms and warning signs of TMJ disorder is vital because it alerts people when it is time to seek a diagnosis. Some of the TMJ disorder symptoms that our Fountain Valley patients may be experiencing include:
- Jaw pain when chewing
- Jaw stiffness
- Lockjaw (the jaw gets stuck in the open or closed position)
- Limited jaw movement or an inability to open or close the mouth all the way
- Clicking, popping, or grating of the jaw joint when chewing or opening or closing the mouth
- Ringing in the ears
- Face or neck pain
- Frequent headaches
- Difficulty sleeping
TMJ Diagnosis and Treatment
Individuals who experience potential symptoms or warning signs of TMJ disorder, particularly those at high risk of the condition, should discuss their concerns with a dentist experienced in diagnosing and treating it, such as Dr. Mortensen.
Dr. Mortensen uses advanced technology, such as digital X-rays and 3D imaging, to examine the teeth, bones, and joints so he can provide his Fountain Valley patients with an accurate diagnosis.
Upon diagnosing TMJ disorder, Dr. Mortensen offers a variety of treatments, including neuromuscular dentistry, splint therapy, orthodontics, and (when necessary) surgery to address pain and tension in the jaw and improve jaw functions. TMJ disorder treatment benefits patients by:
- Restoring oral comfort
- Enhancing oral functions
- Improving quality of sleep
- Protecting teeth from excessive wear
- Restoring full jaw functions
If you are experiencing symptoms commonly associated with TMJ disorder, Dr. Andrew G. Mortensen can perform a thorough examination to diagnose the condition and create an appropriate treatment plan. To find out how Dr. Mortensen can restore your oral functions and comfort, send us a message and request an appointment.