Arthritis and TMJ Dysfunction

November 29, 2020
Avatar for Kelley MingusKelley Mingus

Arthritis is an inflammatory problem that affects millions of people around the globe. Though there is no cure for arthritis, there are many prescription medications available to help deal with the painful symptoms of this sometimes-debilitating illness. Arthritis can affect any of the joints of the body, including the hands, knees, fingers, and even the jaw. Though not as widely discussed as other areas, arthritis of the jaw is pretty common. In fact, it is said to affect upwards of 16 percent of the population of the world.

There are several types of arthritis that can affect the jaw: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. Though these types of arthritis all affect the body somewhat differently, they still cause significant pain and can all still affect the jaw. Namely, they can all cause issues with the temporomandibular joint of the jaw.

Temporomandibular joint issues are commonly referred to as temporomandibular joint dysfunction or TMJ dysfunction for short. TMJ dysfunction can cause widespread pain, which in addition to jaw pain can cause headaches, neck pain, jaw popping and clicking, jaw stiffness, ear ringing, and even teeth grinding or bruxism. These issues can affect anyone but are more common in women.

But arthritis of the jaw is more dangerous than it sounds. While those symptoms mentioned above seem bad enough, it can also cause more dangerous issues like deterioration of the jaw bone, chronic inflammation, and even cartilage deterioration. The bad news is that cartilage and jaw deterioration are irreversible, but the good news is that they can be stopped with proper and timely treatment.

If you suffer from any of the forms of arthritis or if you have any of the symptoms of jaw pain mentioned above, you could be suffering from a temporomandibular joint condition. Thankfully, there are treatment options available, which can be discussed and executed by Dr. Mingus.

The first step to treatment is to reach out to Dr. Mingus for a consultation. From there, you may be referred to an arthritis specialist, or undergo treatment for temporomandibular joint dysfunction (or both). Treatment may include physical therapy exercises or a custom orthotic designed to position your jaw to its proper alignment.

Don’t continue to suffer from TMJ pain unnecessarily. Contact Dr. Mingus today for your consultation.