If you have persistent jaw pain when you chew and swallow, you may have temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD/TMJ. This disorder can cause pain when you speak or make certain facial expressions. Alas, it can even cause pain in kissing.
TMD/TMJ is actually a group of medical conditions that affect one or both of the jaw joints – the points where the jaw meets the ear. It also includes the muscles and other tissues associated with them.
The human jaw is a marvel, in that it allows movement in three dimensions. It is also the body’s most complex joint. While TMJ disorders can be caused by arthritis or trauma, the exact cause or causes of it are not fully understood.
Research has shown that most patients with TMJ also have painful conditions elsewhere in their bodies. It may be a chronic headache, irritable bowel syndrome, lower back pain, sleep disorders, or even chronic fatigue. Since the simultaneous occurrence of TMJ and other conditions happens more often than can be attributed to chance, there is new research into possible common underlying mechanisms.
About thirty-five million people in the United States have TMD in one form or another. It is most common in women of childbearing age. If you are among those with TMD, or think that you are, it’s important to be properly diagnosed.
Our Dentist is a TMD/TMJ specialist serving the Nashville area. At his Sleep Apnea and TMJ Solutions office in Brentwood TN, he provides treatment for TMJ and other disorders. Call his office today to schedule an appointment.