Understanding TMJ Disorders: Types, Symptoms, and Impact
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, but it’s often used to refer to disorders affecting this joint. These disorders, collectively known as TMJ or TMD (temporomandibular disorders), can lead to discomfort, pain, and impaired function of the jaw joint and the surrounding muscles.
TMJ disorders are a group of conditions that can cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. These conditions can be complex, with symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain and limited jaw mobility.
Types of TMJ Disorders
There are several types of TMJ disorders, but the three most common ones are:
- Myofascial Pain Disorder: This type focuses on discomfort or pain in the muscles controlling jaw function.
- Disc Displacement: This occurs when the cushioning disc inside the jaw joint moves out of its normal alignment.
- Degenerative Joint Disease: This type includes osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the jaw joint.
Each type of TMJ disorder can cause different symptoms, and it’s not uncommon for a person to experience more than one type at a time.
Common Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
Symptoms of TMJ disorders can vary significantly from person to person but often include:
- Jaw pain or tenderness.
- Popping, clicking, or grinding noises in the jaw when opening or closing the mouth.
- Difficulty or discomfort while chewing.
- Aching pain around the ear.
- Locking of the jaw joint, making it difficult to open or close the mouth.
These symptoms can significantly impact your daily life, making eating, talking, and even yawning uncomfortable.
Dr. Hahn approaches each case of TMJ with a personalized touch. He understands that every individual’s experience with TMJ is unique, and our treatments are tailored to address your specific needs and symptoms. In the following sections, we’ll delve into the phases of TMJ treatment and how we can help you transition to a more advanced care level when necessary.