“TMJ” stands for temporomandibular joint. This part of your body connects your lower jaw (mandible) to your skull at the temporal bone. Functions like moving your mouth and chewing are controlled by this joint. If you are experiencing pain while doing these things, you may be experiencing temporomandibular disorder (also called TMD). Grinding your teeth, excessive stress, or clenching your jaw can cause TMD.
Common symptoms of TMD you may experience are:
- Grinding your teeth
- Ear aches
- Difficulty chewing food
- Experiencing pain when closing or opening your mouth
- Having your jaw become stuck while open or shut
- Hearing popping or clicking sounds when you open your mouth
It’s common that these symptoms also indicate other health problems. As a result, it is necessary that a doctor diagnoses TMD. If you are experiencing these symptoms, treatment is highly recommended as they can often lead to additional problems. Teeth grinding can wear the enamel from your teeth making your teeth likely to decay, or you could develop increased sensitivity to cold or hot food.
We encourage you to call us and schedule a consultation if you think you may have TMD. A proper diagnosis is the first step, and then we can treat your symptoms. You may need to take pain relievers, use cold/hot compresses, or even begin using a night guard while you sleep. Very severe cases may require surgery, but typically we can avoid that by treating the behavior first.
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