Do you experience frequent pain or stiffness in or around your jaw? Are you worried that you might have a condition known as TMJ?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint syndrome (or disorder). It encompasses a variety of conditions affecting the jaw muscles and joints, ultimately causing discomfort, pain, and stiffness in the face.

It’s actually a common medical problem for both adults and children. With awareness and a proper medical diagnosis, though, your dentist can treat TMJ effectively and without complications.

The affected joint is called the temporomandibular joint, consisting of the temporal bone (at the side and base of the skull) and the lower jaw. The joint slides and rotates just in front of the ear, and its normal functions include chewing, swallowing, speech, and communication. While normally associated with adults, TMJ can be hereditary, affecting children as well.

Common symptoms include jaw clenching and teeth grinding, two indications of a condition known as bruxism. At first, a person might experience different types of symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, or ringing in the ears, which a physician could attribute to other medical problems. This makes it difficult to diagnose bruxism or TMJ with certainty. However, an x-ray or CT scan usually provides a definitive answer.

Can TMJ be prevented?

Some suggestions for both adults and children include:

  • Avoid chewing gum and eating hard or chewy foods.
  • Be aware of stress or anxiety, and find relaxation methods that work for you.
  • Consciously relax the jaw, and use a warm damp cloth before bed.
  • If you grind your teeth while sleeping, try wearing a night guard.

Dr. James Phelan of Exquisite Smiles is a dentist in South Attleboro, MA that can address your concerns about TMJ.

Contact us today for a consultation.