The two temporomandibular joints (TMJs) – one on each side of your face – connect your jaw to your skull and are responsible for your jaw’s ability to open and close. A variety of conditions can cause jaw pain that can travel throughout your face and surrounding areas. They include:
- Oral habits (chewing gum, biting nails, and daytime or nighttime clenching or grinding)
- Jaw joint injury
- Arthritis (like knee and hip joints, painful arthritis can also affect your jaw joint)
- Psychosocial factors (anxiety, depression, stress, and other issues)
- Genetic predisposition
- Environmental factors
When to See a TMJ Specialist
Clicking, popping, and grating sounds are common among people with a TMJ disorder, but they aren’t a reason for concern on their own. You should seek care if these noises are accompanied by facial pain or limited jaw movement.
Often, TMD or TMJ disorders may cause other symptoms, such as ear pain, headaches, and even muscle spasms in the jaw. The pain can spread to your tongue, teeth, and surrounding areas, like your cheeks, chin, neck, and shoulders.
Duke Offers Care for Every Stage of TMJ Disorders/TMD
Our dentists specialize in TMJ disorders and facial pain. They offer a wide range of noninvasive treatment options to treat your condition.
If you are diagnosed with end-stage joint disease, our oral surgeon is one of the few in the area to offer several surgical options, from minimally invasive procedures to total joint replacement.
We also work closely with other specialists, including rheumatologists who treat people with conditions like arthritis and lupus, in which joint problems such as TMJ frequently occur.