Have you been suffering from jaw pain? Is it uncomfortable to talk, chew your food, or kiss your partner?

We use our mouth constantly to communicate, eat, drink, sing, and so many other things. It’s literally a pain when something that normally comes so easily, such as talking, becomes difficult.

Many of our jobs, social lives, and personal relationships depend on our ability to communicated effectively and when we can’t do that, we cannot do our jobs, be social, or continue positive relationships with our loved ones very easily.

Our physical pain is mirrored by psychological distress that stems from our inability to do something we usually take for granted. If your jaw is in pain, you could have TMJ.

What Is TMJ?

Temporomandibular joints connect your mandible, or lower jaw, to your temporal bone, or skull. You have one on each side of your head. They rotate and slide just below each ear and are some of the most complex joints in the entire human body.

If any part of the joint structure is off, the smooth motions of the muscle are disrupted and one side is no longer synchronized with the other and inflammation occurs. TMJ can cause many problems, both in the short-term and in the long-term.

What is TMD?

This misalignment of joints causes TMD, or temporomandibular disorders, where the muscles are affected to the point of causing facial pain. The most common disorder is called myofascial pain in which the connective tissue covering the muscles causes the pain.

Internal derangement of the joint refers to either a dislocated jaw or disk between the jaw bone and the skull or an injury to the condyle. The condyle is the rounded edge of the jawbone that connects to the lower half of the skull.

Degenerative joint diseases, or arthritis, are a major cause of TMD and TMJ.

Symptoms Of TMJ/TMD

There are many signs that you may be suffering from TMJ and TMD. A simple and concise list consists of:

  • pain near the ear, where your lower jaw attaches to your skull
  • consistent headaches and neckaches
  • tenderness of the jaw and jaw muscles
  • pain and joint popping when chewing, yawning, and biting
  • difficulty opening and closing your mouth
  • sensitive teeth with no known cause
  • locking of the joint
  • buzzing, ringing in the ears
  • misaligned jaw
  • dizziness and vertigo

Causes Of TMJ/TMD

Both TMJ and TMD can be caused by any and all of the following:

  • arthritis
  • joint erosion
  • teeth grinding and clenching
  • jaw structure problems
  • crowded teeth preventing the jaw from fitting together correctly
  • incorrect use of orthodontic braces
  • poor posture that strains muscles in the neck and face
  • prolonged stress
  • lack of sleep
  • poor diet

What Can You Do?

You can make certain lifestyle changes to help with your pain. Chewing gum is not the best idea when you should be resting your jaw. The more you use it, the worse it will hurt. Try eating only soft foods for a while. Soup, mashed potatoes, and bananas are easier on your jaw than a steak or candy.

Grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw is a direct cause of jaw pain. Stress can exacerbate those problems. Take measures to lower your stress level and rest your jaw. Quiet meditation will accomplish both tasks. If the pain continues, give us a call. We can help you!

We Can Help You

Treatments vary based on your particular problem and the particular cause. Sometimes, correcting the bite with orthodontics, mouth guards, and lifestyle changes. Serious cases may require surgery.

Pain caused by arthritis inflammation can be controlled with steroid injections, for example. For the short term, over the counter pain medications can cut down on the swelling and take the edge off the pain. Make an appointment with a reputable dental professional today.

Exquisite Smiles is here for you when you are ready to take control of your pain and correct your bite. Contact us to schedule an appointment. Don’t allow TMJ and TMD to stop you from enjoying your life.