Do you feel pain when you move your jaw, whether it’s to yawn, eat, or even talk? If so, you may be struggling with a disorder related to your temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
Your TMJ is a hinge that connects your jawbone to your skull. Generally the hinge is covered in cartilage and is separated by a shock-absorbing disk that keeps movements smooth. When there are problems with the TMJ, you experience pain in your jaw joint and the muscles that control your jaw.
What causes TMJ jaw pain? What can you do about it? Here’s what you need to know.
Causes of TMJ Pain
Every person’s health situation is different, and there’s not a single cause of TMJ. Sometimes you experience this pain because of genetics – the way your jaw is formed puts you at higher risk of problems.
Other times it’s a result of arthritis or a jaw injury. If you grind your teeth, you’re also at higher risk of developing TMJ syndrome. All of these situations can lead to damage to the cartilage or the disk that cushions the joint.
Misalignment of the teeth or jaw can also cause TMJ, because the jaw is not able to move as smoothly as it should. Over time, this causes pain around the joint and muscles. Stress, poor posture, and even chewing gum regularly can be other contributing factors.
How Do I Know if I Have TMJ?
Knowing the symptoms of TMJ problems will help you decide if your issues are consistent with this condition. From there, you need to see a medical professional for a complete exam and diagnosis.
The most obvious symptoms are pain or tenderness in your jaw, especially near the hinge. You can also hear a clicking sound or feel a rubbing sensation when you chew or move your mouth.
Other less obvious symptoms include ear pain, earaches, and headaches. You may also experience pain in your temple or in other areas of your face. In some cases, the jaw joint will lock, causing you to be unable to open your mouth.
If you have pain or limitation of movement when you move your jaw, you should definitely visit an Etobicoke Dentist for further evaluation.
What are the Treatments for TMJ Pain?
Sometimes the treatment for TMJ is as simple as taking over-the-counter medicine that will help reduce the swelling. At times, prescription-strength anti-inflammatories may be needed for a short time.
Your doctor or dentist may give you exercises and stretches to do to help the muscles relax. You might also ice your jaw, avoid chewing gum, and work on stress reduction.
If your muscles are still sore, you might be prescribed muscle relaxers to help the muscles in your jaw have less pain and to reduce problems with grinding or clenching your teeth.
The good news is that these therapies work for most people. However, in some cases, you might need surgery to treat your TMJ. This can range from a minimally invasive arthrocentesis procedure to a full open-joint surgery. Your doctor will be able to discuss which options are best for your specific needs.
Having pain in your jaw and not being able to open your mouth fully has a variety of causes and can cause significant issues. Fortunately, most TMJ problems can be treated at home with minimal effort. However, if you need more significant care, visit a dentist in Oshawa, they will let you know your options.