Experiencing Jaw Pain: Could it be TMJ?


shutterstock_93545167-300x200The jaw joint is composed of a number of structures, and when any of those components develop a problem, a painful temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder can develop.

If you’re experiencing symptoms, like jaw pain, that may indicate a TMJ disorder, it’s important to consult with an oral surgeon to confirm the diagnosis. With their extensive knowledge of the jaw’s structure, oral surgeons are well-positioned to identify and treat TMJ disorders.

Other symptoms of TMJ disorders can include clicking or popping noises in the joint, especially while speaking or chewing; locking of the jaw; earaches and headaches; and a noticeable change in the bite. Of course, not all patients will have all of these symptoms.

Because the jaw joint is so complex, any number of factors could cause or contribute to a TMJ disorder. That’s why it is so important to get an oral surgeon’s assessment to determine a specific cause of your particular symptoms.

The specific culprit of your TMJ disorder will then inform the treatment. For example, if it appears that muscle tension is causing your discomfort, you may be instructed on self-massage techniques, or even stress management strategies.

Teeth grinding can also exacerbate TMJ disorders, so if this is a factor, you can begin to wear a mouthguard to prevent teeth grinding during sleep.

Although many TMJ patients will respond to a non-invasive treatment, surgery may be warranted in some cases. TMJ can be caused by a disc that has slipped out of place, and this may require a surgical procedure to correct the problem.

Patients who have not responded to more conservative measures may also consider a surgical treatment to see if that approach brings them symptom relief.

Jaw pain can certainly be one of the indicators of a TMJ disorder. If you’ve been having this issue, schedule an evaluation at our oral surgery practice to learn the cause of your symptoms and find out about possible treatments to alleviate your discomfort.

Call Austin Oral Surgery today and set up an appointment at any of our convenient locations.