Evanston, IL

Woman with TMD experiencing jaw painThe temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge joining the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull, which are in front of both ears. The TMJ allows you to move your jaw up and down and from side to side.

Complications connected to the jaw and the facial muscles that control it are called temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Others also (wrongly) call these problems TMJ, after the joint itself.

Causes of TMD

Dental experts haven’t yet determined the causes of TMD, but they suspect that it comes from problems with parts of the joint or with jaw muscles. Injuries to the jaw, the joints or facial muscles can also cause TMD.

Additional causes include clenching or grinding teeth, movement of the disc between the ball and socket of the joint, and arthritis in the joints. Stress can also lead to TMD if you clench your teeth or tighten your jaw and facial muscles.

What are the Symptoms of TMD?

TMD usually results in great discomfort and pain, either temporarily or for several years. This condition can affect one or both sides of your face. Women get TMD more commonly than men, and it occurs most frequently in people between the ages of 20 and 40.

The following are common symptoms of TMD:
•  Grating, popping or clicking sounds in the jaw joint when your mouth opens, closes or chews (pain may not necessarily accompany this)
•  Difficulty chewing or a misaligned bite
•  Jaws get stuck in an open or closed position
•  Facial swelling on the side of the face
•  Dizziness, hearing problems, ringing in the ears, neck aches, earaches, headaches, toothaches, or upper shoulder pain
•  Tenderness or pain in the shoulders, neck and face, or near the ears and jaw joints

If you have any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with us right away. Temporomandibular disorders are painful and will negatively impact your quality of life and overall health.

How is TMD Diagnosed?

The symptoms of TMD are also found in several other conditions, such as gum disease, sinus problems, tooth decay, and arthritis. Because of this, Dr. Polly Reese will ask you questions about your medical history and do a dental exam to determine which condition you have.

During this examination, he will examine the joints of your jaw for tender areas and clicking or popping noises when you move them. He’ll also check the alignment of your bite and ensure it doesn’t lock when you open and shut your mouth. Also, he will look for any issues with the muscles in your face.

Dr. Polly Reese might also need to take x-rays of your entire face so we can see your teeth, jaws, and temporomandibular joints. To pinpoint the exact problem, we may need to employ other tests, such as computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The former will display the bony detail of the joint, while the latter can reveal whether or not the TMJ disc remains in the correct position when you move your jaw.

For more information, please contact our office at (224) 307-4977.

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2500 Ridge Avenue
Evanston, IL 60201


(224) 307-4977


Weekend and Evening
Appointments available!

Winning Smile Dental Group | | (224) 307-4977
2500 Ridge Ave Suite 102, Evanston, IL 60201
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Winning Smile Dental Group, 2500 Ridge Avenue, Evanston, IL, 60201 - Associated Words: TMJ Evanston IL \ dental exams Evanston IL \ family dentist Evanston IL \ (224) 307-4977 \ \ 9/15/2020