Learning More About Your Jaw Pain
A TMJ disorder (also known as TMD) can have many different causes, and it can be treated several different ways depending on your situation. It’s important to take the time to learn as much as you can about your condition so that you know exactly what kind of care you need. Dr. Pamela West has plenty of training in TMJ therapy and can answer any questions you might have; schedule a free consultation with us if you’re concerned about your jaw pain. Here are just a few things our patients often ask.
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
The exact cause of TMJ pain isn’t always clear, especially since there are multiple factors that can contribute to an inflamed jaw joint. Common risk factors include misaligned jaws and teeth grinding (bruxism), both of which can put pressure on the TMJ. Other possible causes include poor posture, anxiety, arthritis, gum chewing, and braces. When Dr. West examines your mouth, she’ll take the time to identify possible contributing factors so that they can be addressed properly.
My Jaw Joints Keep Popping; Does That Mean I Have a TMD?
There are many different symptoms that can point to a TMD. One such warning sign is a popping in the jaw joints that occurs when you open and close your mouth. That being said, popping jaws have other causes, and in some cases it doesn’t point to anything particularly serious. However, you should definitely take notice of the popping if you’re also experiencing other common TMD symptoms such as headaches or jaw pain. Dr. West will need to examine your jaw carefully to determine whether the popping is related to a TMD.
What Does TMD Have to Do with the Ringing in My Ears?
One surprising side effect of a TMD is a constant ringing sound in your ears. This is a sign of tinnitus, and it’s often accompanied by ear pain. Because the eardrum is so close to the temporomandibular joint, they can have an effect on each other. If the joint becomes inflamed, it can affect the stabilization of the eardrum, resulting in the ringing sound. In severe cases, tinnitus can keep you up at night, and the noise can last months, years, or even a lifetime. In many cases, having your TMD treated will also relieve your tinnitus.
How Long Should I Wear an Oral Appliance for TMD Therapy?
When you receive an oral appliance to treat your TMD, it’s important to be mindful of how long it stays in your mouth. While some patients might need to wear it all the time, others should only place it in their mouths as night. It largely depends on the alignment of the jaw as well as how severe your disorder is. Generally, it’s recommended not to wear an oral appliance for longer than six months, since it could lead to other issues with your jaw. Of course, everyone is different; you’ll need to follow Dr. West’s instructions very carefully.