5 Signs You Could Be Suffering From Chronic Jaw Pain (TMJD)


As part of TMJ Awareness Month in November, Dr. Fitzpatrick wanted to take the opportunity to answer some of the most common questions related to the complex issues around TMJD or TMD.


What is TMJD / TMD?

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) refers to the issues that affect the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) – the joints in your jaw. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably, however TMD is the disorder and the TMJ are the two jaw joints themselves that connect the lower jaw bone (the mandible) to the bones of the skull in front of each ear (temporal bones).


Who is Affected by TMJD / TMD?

Both men and women can experience TMDs but the symptoms are most severe for women in their childbearing years.


You may experience TMJD / TMD issues for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Misaligned teeth

  • Trauma or injuries to the jaw area

  • Autoimmune diseases (where the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue)

  • Certain infections

  • Arthritis

  • Medical procedures where your mouth is open for prolonged periods of time

Signs You Might Be Suffering From TMJ / TMD

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it’s time to visit our dental practice in Petworth, DC:

  1. Restricted movement around your jaw bone or muscles

  2. Clicking or popping noise while you chew

  3. Persistent headaches or earaches / ringing in the ears

  4. Pains around the jaw muscles / in front of your ear

  5. Limited movement in the jaw / jaw locking

TMJ issues can affect your sleep, eating, and your overall quality of life. Therefore it’s important to be aware of the signs of TMJ problems so that you can discuss it with your dentist. Dr. Fitzpatrick and the dental team in Petworth are here to guide you through these issues and find a treatment plan that will alleviate your symptoms and pain. Treatment will vary depending on your issues, but can include using a night guard or attending physical therapy. Dr. Fitz may also suggest at-home recommendations to help ease your symptoms, such as eating soft foods, applying ice or moist heat, and avoiding large jaw movements such as wide yawning or chewing gum.


We look forward to hearing from you and helping alleviate your pain!