What is TMJ? You’ve probably heard of it before, but there are so many terms and health conditions nowadays, it’s impossible to keep all those terms straight! TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint. Such a big word, but TMJ is a joint that connects your skull to your jawbone. This joint and the muscles surrounding it can cause pain and malfunctions that impair your ability to move your jaw properly.
So What Causes TMJ?
Sometimes an injury can cause TMJ problems, but most of the time the cause is unknown. Science is still trying to figure this one out, but the possible culprits may point to teeth grinding, stress, misaligned teeth, hormones, or arthritis.
Signs to watch out for:
· Pain or stiffness in your chewing muscles and/or jaw joint
· Pain that radiates in your face, jaw, or neck
· Lock-jaw or restricted jaw movement
· Your jaw joint clicks or pops, causing pain
· Your upper and lower teeth don’t fit together as well as they used to
· These symptoms can occur in one or both jaw joints
What Steps Do I Need To Take If I Think I Might Have A TMJ Disorder?
If you are experiencing jaw pain, getting an examination is a good idea. Just know that there are other reasons that could cause your TMJ to ache and that it might not be a disorder. Sometimes visiting a doctor is a little scary, but getting checked will ensure that there isn’t a bigger problem at stake.
If you do suffer from a TMJ disorder, your doctor will suggest the best treatment for you. Most often, surgery isn’t necessary. There are conservative treatments available that will help treat TMJ disorder effectively.
Coping With TMJ Disorder
If you do get diagnosed with a TMJ disorder, follow your doctor’s protocol. Below are other ways you can cope with TMJ pain and discomfort:
· Eat softer foods
· Use an ice pack on the joint
· Don’t open your mouth wide, to prevent further stress on the jaw joint
· Don’t chew gum
· Gentle jaw exercises and relaxation techniques may help. Speak to your doctor about these exercises before you attempt to do them
If you are experiencing jaw pain, you’re not alone. Many Americans deal with this problem. But there are treatment solutions available and we are here to help! Contact us today for further questions and assistance.