Pain and tenderness in jaws and around the ears, discomfort when chewing, headaches, painful clicking of the jaw, locking of the joints that makes it difficult to open or close the mouth and uneven bite are symptoms of TMJ. You may hear a clicking sound or have a grinding sensation when you open or close your mouth, but as long as there is no pain or limitation of movement you don’t have a TMJ disorder.
Trauma to the jaw can be one cause of TMJ disorders, but in many cases the source of the problem is not clear. Some experts say that anxiety, stress or Rheumatoid arthritis can cause TMJ disorders. Tooth grinding, jaw clenching, fibromyalgia and congenital deformity of the facial bones have also been associated with TMJ disorders.
There are no specific tests for diagnosing them. At Culver City Dentist we check muscles and joints for tenderness, clicking or popping and difficulty in opening and closing the mouth. We may also take x-rays or a mold of your teeth to see how they fit together. As sinus problems and earaches can cause facial pain as well, we need to make sure the cause of your jaw problems is correctly diagnosed. Our dentists will look for high fillings, a tipped or cracked tooth and signs of wear that indicate tooth grinding to make sure the problem is not caused by a dental issue.
If the problem is persistent, we start by recommending you to reduce your stress, avoid chewing gums, use bite guards to reduce the wear caused by tooth grinding and take over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. If the symptoms persist, we recommend corrective dental treatments and surgeries.