Most parts of the body are complex, but one of the most complex is your temporomandibular joint, the two joints that connect your jaw to your skull. Often times these joints cause some pain and clicking for those with TMJ disorders. These are both signs that the joint and muscles are not working properly, and should be seen by a professional to ensure no further medical disorders arise.
Causes for TMJ pain and discomfort range from any of the following:
- Grinding or clenching your teeth
- Tightening your jaw and jaw muscles, ultimately stressing the joint out.
- Injury or disease based on your previous medical history
These cause the cartilage between the bones of your joint to become worn down or out of alignment. This is what causes the clicking sound, the pain, and even the lack of ability to open your mouth completely.
Do I have TMJ?
- If you may think you have TMJ, we want you to answer some of these questions for yourself,
- Do you grind or clench your teeth?
- Are your muscles sore or stiff in the morning when you wake up?
- Do you have frequent headaches or pain in your neck?
- Does your jaw pop, click, catch or lock when you open your mouth?
- Do you have pain in your jaw when you eat, yawn, or open your mouth?
- Do you have arthritis in other joints?
How many did you answer ‘yes’ to? If it is the majority, the likelihood that you have TMJ is rather high.
Luckily, the research has gotten better over the years and there are more treatments for TMJ disorders today than there were in the past.
To alleviate the pain in the muscles, often one is instructed to take an anti-inflammatory medication in order to calm the muscles in the jaw. This will reduce the pain and inflammation.
Mindfulness and self care can assist the treatment of TMJ by having the person become aware of when their jaw is clenched in order to rest it, making sure they keep their teeth apart unless necessary, eating soft foods, using ice and heat, and exercising their jaw.
Stress management also plays a large role in the treatment for TMJ. It’s known that stress can cause TMJ, therefore, it is important for someone to learn how to manage that stress.
Dental mouth guards are provided to those who come into their dentist’s office wanting alleviation from the pain caused by TMJ.
If you or someone you know is suffering from TMJ, lead them to our door. At Progressive Family Dentistry, we would love to take care of your teeth and jaw problems!