Jaw pain? May be TMJ Disorder
The jaw joints and groups of muscles that let us chew, swallow, speak and yawn are known as the temporomandibular. Within the TMJ, there are many complex moving parts including muscles, tendons, and bones.When there’s a problem with how the joints and muscles work, you may have a temporomandibular disorder or TMD.TMJ disorder (or TMD) happens when there is a complex problem with the smooth workings of the muscles and joints that control your jaw. This can lead to a multitude of problems including stiffness, headaches, ear pain, and more.
The following are common behaviours of TMJ disorder:
- Tender or sore jaw muscles. Your jaw may be even more painful when you wake up, clench your teeth, chew your food or yawn.
- Dental problems such as misalignment of the teeth, and uncomfortable bite.
- problems opening or closing your mouth. It may be hard to open or close your jaws all the way, or your jaws may lock open or closed.
- Headaches that you cannot explain. You may also feel pain in your neck. These may be caused by TMD, or by other problems. Tell your dentist AND your doctor.
- Bruxism, or repetitive and unconscious teeth clenching and teeth grinding. It can occur both day and night, and you are usually totally unaware of the fact that you are doing it. Many patients awaken in the morning with jaw or ear pain.
- A tired feeling in the face
- Trauma to the jaw such as previous fractures/injuries or whiplash.
- Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open- or closed-mouth position
- Swelling on the side of the face. May occur on one or both sides of the face
- Stress. It is very common for people under stress to release nervous energy by grinding and clenching their teeth. Fatigue, poor posture (such as those stuck on a computer all day), and even lack of adequate exercise also contribute to high stress levels.
Luckily, TMJ symptoms can be treated at any of our dental offices. Our dentists will start by inspecting your jaw and bite, making sure that your muscles and joints align the way they should. If necessary, a custom-made, perfectly fitted night guard is made for you to wear at night. For complex cases, collaborative treatment with local physiotherapists and facial pain specialists may be sought.
Contact us todayif you are experiencing TMJ symptoms, or are looking for relief from bruxism. Our dentists serving Belleville, Trenton and surrounding areas, will discuss with you your options.