What Causes TMJ?

Cosmetic & Family Dentist Serving Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Draper & Nearby Utah

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the lower jaw to the upper jaw and the rest of the skull. Disorders affecting this joint can lead to a range of disorienting and painful symptoms, making it essential to find a Salt Lake City dentist with experience providing TMJ treatment.

To find out if your symptoms are linked to TMJ, please call Warr Dental at 801-355-5385 today to schedule a complimentary evaluation. Dr. Keith Warr serves patients in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the nearby areas.

Understanding TMJ

Though the proper medical acronym for temporomandibular disorder is TMD, it’s not uncommon for pain or discomfort in this part of the face to be called TMJ or TMD interchangeably. Regardless of which set of letters your dentist uses, TMJ can be caused by several different factors, including:

  • Grinding, clenching or gnashing teeth; can occur when you’re awake or asleep
  • Tightened facial muscles, often resulting from stress
  • Disc displacement or dislocation, causing the upper jaw and lower jaw to align improperly
  • Degenerative diseases of the joints, such as arthritis

Diagnosing TMJ

The first step of TMJ treatment is identifying whether or not your symptoms are caused by a disorder affecting the joint connecting the jaw. Symptoms of TMJ commonly include pain in the face and neck, difficulty chewing and sensitive teeth. Problematically, these same symptoms could also be indicative of:

  • Cavities
  • Gum disease
  • Issues affecting the sinuses, such as allergies, post-nasal drip, etc.

In order to distinguish TMJ from these other conditions, Dr. Warr will carefully assess your case by conducting a full examination. Possible steps are:

  • Gathering a detailed medical history, including a full overview of your symptoms
  • Examining your jaw for signs of clicking or popping, as well as discomfort or sensitivity in the joint itself
  • Checking your bite; misalignment can make opening or closing your mouth difficult
  • Scanning your jaws, teeth and gums with X-ray or other imaging technology

If you are experiencing TMJ symptoms, please contact Warr Dental today at 801-355-5385 to schedule an appointment. Dr. Warr is pleased to serve patients in and around Salt Lake City.