Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome facts
The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. When this joint is injured or damaged, it can lead to a localized pain disorder called temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome.
Causes of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome include injury to the teeth or jaw, misalignment of the teeth or jaw, teeth grinding, poor posture, stress, arthritis, and gum chewing. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
Signs and symptoms of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome include:
- pain in the jaw joint
- jaw clicking and popping
- ear pain
- popping sounds in ears
- stiff or sore jaw muscles
- pain in the temple area
- locking of the jaw joint
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome often responds to home remedies, including ice packs to the joint, over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), avoiding chewing gum, massage or gentle stretches of the jaw and neck, and stress reduction.
When home treatment does not work, medical treatment for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome includes dental splints, Trigger Point and Prolotherapy injections, physical therapy techniques, prescription medications, and proper nutrition for Chronic Pain.
The prognosis for TMJ syndrome is generally good as the disorder can usually be managed with professional care.
What are the risk factors for TMJ syndrome?
There are several risk factors for TMJ syndrome:
- Poor posture in the neck and upper back muscles may lead to neck strain and abnormalities of jaw muscle function.
- Sleep Breathing Disorders such as OSA- Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
- Stress may increase muscle tension and jaw clenching.
- Women 18-44 years of age have increased risk.
- Patients with other chronic inflammatory arthritis have increased risk.
- People with jaw trauma or poorly positioned teeth have increased risk.
- People who have a genetic predisposition to pain sensitivity and increased stress responses may be more susceptible
San Francisco TMJ Specialist Dr. Larson will diagnose TMJ syndrome by taking the patient’s medical history and doing a physical exam to find the cause of the symptoms. There is no specific test to diagnose TMJ syndrome. Dr. Larson specializes in jaw disorders and can diagnosis and treat TMJ. Sometimes an MRI or CT scan of the temporomandibular joint may be ordered to detect damage to the cartilage of the jaw joint and to rule out other medical problems.
To learn more about the TMJ Treatments and Services we provide or to schedule an appointment, please contact your Financial District San Francisco TMJ and Dental Sleep Medicine Specialist Dr. Larson and Dr. Rodriguez Today at (415) 872-5116