The Temporomandibular Joint is a hinge that connects your jaw to the skull. Damage to the joint can cause pain and other disorders. This is referred to as TMJ or TMD. Something I’m sure we have all heard about before. Symptoms include pain in or around your face, neck, and shoulders. If your jaw feels like it is locked in an open or closed position. If the joint pops or clicks when moving your jaw, whether it hurts or not can also be a symptom. Also, swelling around the side of your face near the joint. Those are the symptoms but what causes TMJ.
TMJ can sometimes be caused by factors outside of your control. Arthritis in the temporomandibular joint and stress can both cause TMJ. Grinding or constantly clenching your teeth together, often at night, can put stress on the joint and create some problems for you. Sometimes a hard hit to the head, for instance, whiplash can cause a problem in the joint as well. If you are suffering from TMJ there are some ways to try and relieve the pain.
The good news is that TMJ does not require large amounts of work in the dental office to fix. In many cases, a conservative approach can relieve pain and rectify any problems. Though if any difficult symptoms persist schedule an appointment with your dentist for a more in-depth approach. While the pain persists try sticking with a softer diet. Try not to eat foods that require unneeded stress on the temporomandibular joint. Staying away from crunchy and chewy foods or snacks. Just relax. Many times stress and other factors of busy life can make TMJ discomfort worse. Being able to relax the jaw throughout the day will decrease the discomfort from TMJ. Finally, exercise and stretch. This, of course, sounds bizarre but studies have shown that stretching the jaw along with exercise has been shown to provide both relief and has the added benefit of being good for the rest of your body!