Who Is Most Likely to Develop TMJ Dysfunction?

Aug 07, 2023
 Who Is Most Likely to Develop TMJ Dysfunction?
There are many reasons why you might be at increased risk for chronic jaw pain and other symptoms of TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder). Learn how teeth grinding and other factors contribute to TMJ-related pain and dysfunction.

An estimated 10 million Americans have some form of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), a painful jaw condition that can make chewing food and talking painful.

At DDS Concierge, our dental experts have many years of experience diagnosing and treating TMJ symptoms with nonsurgical and surgical therapies.

Edward Delshad, DDS, also provides strategies you can use to lower your risk factors for jaw pain and TMJ-related complications that can affect your oral health.

What to know about TMJ

TMJ describes disorders that affect the temporomandibular joints, which connect each side of your jaw to your skull. Along with nearby muscles and tendons, the joints give your mouth the range of motion it needs to open and close, chew food, and speak.

When you have TMJ, you might experience jaw aches that progressively worsen into persistent pain. You might also have symptoms like:

  • Clicking or popping sensations in the jaw
  • Tinnitus (ear ringing)
  • Tooth pain
  • Frequent headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Without proper management, TMJ can lead to more serious complications like severe jaw pain and teeth misalignments. To lower your risk for these issues, it’s important that you understand your risks for a TMJ disorder and learn how to recognize symptoms in the earliest stage.

Identifying your risk factors for TMJ

Jaw pain and other symptoms of TMJ can result from underlying health issues and personal habits that you may not even be aware of.

You may be at increased risk for TMJ complications due to:

  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Osteoarthritis in the jaw
  • History of jaw injuries
  • Teeth misalignments

Excessive stress that causes you to clench the muscles that support your jaw joint can also play a role in TMJ-related pain.

If you have any of these risk factors, you can meet with our DDS Concierge team for routine oral health exams. Our providers assess the health of your gums, teeth, and jawbone during a physical exam. 

They can also take X-rays of your jaw joints to identify structural issues or premature wear and tear conditions like osteoarthritis that increase your risk for jaw pain and other symptoms.

Treatment options for TMJ disorders

Our providers at DDS Concierge offer several therapies to ease the discomfort and dysfunction of a TMJ disorder based on its severity.

Initially, you may be able to ease pain with ice or heat therapy and rest. You can also take over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and pain relievers to improve your comfort. Temporarily switching to a soft food diet can also give your jaw joints time to relax and heal.

If your TMJ issues relate to teeth grinding during the night, we can customize a mouthguard that fits snugly over your teeth. The guard can prevent excessive wear on your jaw joints and teeth while you sleep. You may also need to wear a mouthguard during the day if you’re stressed out and clenching your jaw.

When these strategies aren’t enough to control chronic jaw pain, our team can customize a care plan using:

  • Botox® injections
  • Anesthetic injections
  • Radio wave therapy
  • Low-level electrical therapy
  • Jaw surgery

We can also correct tooth misalignments like overbites and underbites that interfere with the healthy function of your jaw.

Call DDS Concierge in Santa Monica or Arleta, California, to schedule a diagnostic evaluation for TMJ symptoms or book an appointment online today.