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Disorders of the Jaw

Disorders of the JawA jaw disorder includes any condition or disease that affects the jaw. Infection, inflammation, injury, cancer, and a genetic or birth defect are all conditions that can affect the jaw. TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is a common jaw condition, and is currently suffered by over ten million Americans today, or between five and twelve percent of the population. It can occur in any age group, but is most common among adult females.

While experts are unsure of the exact reasons why this disorder occurs, it does show itself in several symptoms. These include:

• Pain in the jaw, head, and neck
• Pain or ringing in the ear
• Lock jaw
• Popping or clicking sounds or sensations in the jaw
• Stiff or sore jaw muscles

Many patients refer to their disorder as simply “TMJ”, but this acronym actually only stands for the joint itself. Even if patients were more specific with the term, there can still be some confusion, as there is more than one type of the disorder.

Muscle: This refers to the pain in the muscles that control jaw function, as well as function in the neck and shoulders, often called myofascial pain. It is the most common type of TMJ disorder.

Derangement: Refers to the derangement or disruption of the temporomandibular joint. Derangement disorders can occur due to injury to the bone, dislocated jaw, or displaced disk.

Degenerative: This disorder refers to the wear and tear of the jaw joints. Arthritis is a common cause of this type of disorder. It leads to damage in the cartilage surrounding the joints.

If you recognize any of the above symptoms as issues you currently experience, and believe TMJ disorder to be the cause, schedule an appointment with our TMJ dentist for an exam.

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