TMJD, also known as TMD or temporomandibular joint dysfunction, is a painful and often life-disrupting condition that develops when your jaw joints do not work properly. The condition can cause pain, stiffness, swelling and crepitus, the clicking or grating sound when you open or close your mouth. TMJD can affect anyone, but older adults are more susceptible. Recent studies have revealed that peak occurrence happens in individuals between 45 and 64 year olds. But why?

Seniors and TMJD

Aging. With aging comes a lot of changes, including a decline in muscle strength, including the jaw muscles.

Joint changes. The joints of your body change over time, too. Like the rest of the joints of your body, your jaw joints can weaken and deteriorate.

Use. The longer you use your jaw, the higher the chance that the tiny discs inside your jaw joints can move out of position. These discs are meant to absorb the shock caused by the jaw movement.

Dental restorations. If you've had extensive dental restorations, they can contribute to TMJD.

Trauma. Trauma to the jaw can also contribute to the development of TMJD.

Teeth grinding. Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding can cause jaw muscle tension and pain. It can also affect your bite and damage your teeth.

Bad habits. Do you continually chew gum, chew on a pen or a pencil, or bite your fingernails? These things can lead to jaw tension and TMJD.

Osteoarthritis. Like the other joints in your body, your jaw joints can develop osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that breaks down the cartilage and bones in the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, can also affect the jaw joints, causing inflammation and destroying cartilage. This form of arthritis is caused by autoimmune disease.

If you're experiencing pain, crepitus, headaches, unexplained ear pain, swelling of the jaw joints, or head and neck pain, you may be living with untreated TMJD. If left untreated, you may experience loss of use of your jaw and the feeling that your jaw is going to lock open or closed, which can make eating, speaking and even just living life uncomfortable.

If you're experiencing TMJD pain, you don't have to be uncomfortable. Call us now at 425-361-0715 to schedule an appointment.