In the simplest terms, TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders affect the proper, comfortable functioning of the jaw joints.
TMJ disorders trigger painful symptoms. Left untreated, they can cause long-lasting damage such as cracked teeth.
What are some signs I have it?
TMJ Disorders Cause Grinding,
JAW STIFFNESS, AND OTHER SYMPTOMS
Clenching & Grinding
Patients may have trouble opening their mouths. They may experience limited movement or a locking sensation when partly opening their jaws.
Facial Pain & Headaches
TMJ disorders can cause symptoms ranging from tenderness in the jaw and chin to pain in the neck and shoulders. Patients often experience headaches as well.
Healthy jaw joints make sound from time to time, but TMJ disorders can cause an increase in the frequency or volume of pops and clicks. A grinding feeling often accompanies these noises.
Where exactly are the TMJs located? And what causes dysfunction?
Stress, Misalignment, and Other Factors
THAT CAN TRIGGER A TMJ DISORDER
Injury or Arthritis
A jaw injury can substantially affect TMJ function. Arthritis can also contribute to a TMJ disorder.
Are TMJ disorders very common?
*According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
So How Can I
PREVENT SYMPTOMS FROM WORSENING?
TMJ disorders tend to flare up during times of stress, so many patients find relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga to be beneficial.
Don’t Chew Gum
Proper Posture & Stretching
Take care to massage and carefully stretch the muscles around the jaws. Remember that poor posture, tight shoulders, and a stiff neck can also contribute to the condition.
How is a TMJ disorder diagnosed?
Your Doctor Will Perform an Exam
& TAKE YOUR MEDICAL HISTORY
Diagnosing TMJ disorders can often be done simply by discussing your symptoms. Your doctor will also examine your teeth and jaw, checking for signs of grinding and tender areas.
In some cases, further testing, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, will be conducted to check for damage to the soft cartilage that cushions the TMJs.