The temporomandibular joint is the joint located on both sides of your head, just in front of your ears. When you open and close your mouth you can feel these joints. They connect the mandible (jawbone) to the temporal bone (skull). The temporomandibular joint moves forward, backward as well as side-to-side and it is considered one of the most complex joints in the body. This joint works in tandem with muscles and ligaments so that you can speak, chew and swallow. Whenever there is a problem in this area it may be an indication of TMD.
Causes of TMD
As a rule, TMD is caused by a combination of factors such as arthritis, jaw injuries or other joint diseases. When a person engages in habits such as pencil or pen biting, biting fingernails, or if they have bruxism, these can lead to TMD. Clenching the teeth also creates a lot of pressure in this area.
Dislocation of the soft tissue or disc between the ball and socket can create pain.
Stress may not be a direct cause, but when stressed, some people will engage in habits that can lead them to TMD.
Symptoms of TMD may include:
- Not being able to open the mouth wide;
- Difficulty chewing or an uncomfortable bite;
- Swelling on the side of the face;
- Grating, clicking, or popping sounds when opening/closing the mouth;
- Pain in the face, jaw, neck or shoulders as well as around the ear when using the joint; and
- A stuck or locked jaw when in the open or closed position.
There are many other conditions that can cause similar symptoms to TMD. Sinus problems, headaches, arthritis, or even gum disease can be the source of your pain. A dentist can examine the patient thoroughly to determine the specific cause of the symptoms.
If you have any pain or any of the above symptoms, Dr. Derakshan is a periodontist on staff at Eastgate Dental to ensure you receive the best care available. For more information, please visit Eastgate Dental online at eastgatedentalcentre.com or call the office at 905-560-2714.