TMJ Disorder is a type of Temporomandibular disorder that affects your jaw. This is caused by a joint called the Temporomandibular Joint that acts as a hinge in your jaw, allowing it to open and shut. TMJ can cause pain and discomfort in your jaw as well as the muscles that control jaw movement. You may feel pain across your jaw, in your neck muscles, or your ears. There can also be some stiffness in the jaw, difficulty opening and closing your mouth, or even a popping sound when you open and close your jaw.
The cause of why someone experiences TMJ is often hard to determine as many different factors can be the cause. It can be genetic (such as a misaligned bite), injury related, or even from arthritis. It’s a common misconception that clenching your jaw causes TMJ, and although some people who develop TMJ do in fact clench their jaws, others never get it. Stress is also thought to factor into why some people get TMJ and others don’t, although this is not proven. More information can be found at The Mayo Clinic website.
If you think you have TMJ, visiting your dentist to discuss it is the best option. There is no definitive test to determine whether or not you have it. Toothache and Sinus issues can often cause similar symptoms, but your dentist is the one who can help you to figure things out. After diagnosis you will be given a treatment plan and tips on how to relieve pain at home.
NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) are the most commonly used to treat the pain. Simple exercises, and ice or heat can also help with pain relief and help to alleviate the symptoms. It’s always best to discuss things with your dentist, or see one if you haven’t in some time, to discuss what the next steps are.
While not dangerous, TMJ can be very uncomfortable, and can be a sign of something else. This is why it is highly recommended that you see your dentist if you think that you have TMJ. Be sure to contact us today and schedule an appointment with one of our staff!