An Overview Of TMJ Disorder

Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder, commonly called TMJ disorder, affects the jaw joint and the muscles controlling the jaw movement. A network of muscles, bones and ligaments work with joints on each side of the head, by your ear. They connect your lower jaw (mandible) to your skull (temporal bone), allowing you to open and close your mouth, to speak and to chew. Estimates show that TMJ affects between 10 and 35 million Americans.

There are multiple symptoms associated with TMJ. If you think you may have a TMJ problem, ask yourself:

  • Is there a popping, grating, or clicking noise when you open or close your mouth?
  • Do you suffer from headaches, or pain in the neck or ear area?
  • Is your jaw muscle stiff, have limited movement or does it lock?
  • Does your jaw feel sore or tender, especially in the morning or late afternoon?
  • Does your jaw hurt when you are yawning, chewing or biting?
  • Do your upper and lower teeth fit together differently now?

For many people, pain associated with TMJ is temporary, happens occasionally or needs little or no treatment. In these cases, simple self-care remedies my relieve the discomfort. Practical tips for easing symptoms include:

  • applying ice packs or moist heat
  • avoiding hard foods
  • avoiding certain jaw movements (such as chewing gum, yawning widely or singing loudly)
  • practicing meditation or other stress reduction techniques (in some cases, stress contributes to TMJ problems)
  • carefully performing stretching and relaxing exercises that may help ease and increase jaw movement.

If your symptoms are long-term or painful, seek medical advice. Your dental care provider may be able to recommend additional measures, such as splints, mouth guards or other devices for your individual needs. If you suffer from TMJ disorder, you are not alone. We are here to help. For more information or to make an appointment, please contact us.

2017-03-16T15:27:42-04:00

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