Putting Patients First!

Knowing When You Have TMJ

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Are you constantly having problems pain or difficulty opening and closing your jaw? If you are constantly dealing with problems with your TMJs, or temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder, you are not alone. Millions of your fellow Americans are also dealing with some form of chronic facial pain, which is in fact, the most frequent non-dental related cause of chronic pain in the face. And if you are among them, you are well aware of what it entails because of the discomfort it causes, including headaches, earaches, and jaw pain.

Unless your TMJ was caused by a traumatic injury or another one-off, you are more likely to experience it as a woman in your childbearing years, or if you are under chronic, excess stress making you clench and grind your teeth. This can result in dysfunction and pain in those muscles that move your jaw and the jaw joints, along with jaw stiffness. It is much like hypertension or diabetes where multiple factors may be involved, such as genetics, one’s environment, and gender or behavioral considerations.

So what is this pain? TMJ is the jaw joint (of which you have two), one each that sit in front of your ears. These joints connect to the “temporal” bones on each side of your head and work together with your muscles, ligaments, and discs to move the lower jaw bone back and forth, up and down, and side to side. This movement is what allows you to chew, swallow, talk, and make facial expressions.

TMJ conditions can arise from any of the following:

– If you have difficulty fitting your teeth together or have a misaligned bite.
– If you experience muscle pain and inflammation in the soft tissues in the face which control jaw movement.
– If you have arthritis that affects the temporomandibular joint.
– If you have a dislocated jaw or an injury to the condyle (a rounded section of bone in the lower jaw).
– If you have an infection in the body.
– If you have an autoimmune disease where the body’s own cells attack the tissue.
– If you have had recent dental work where you had to keep the mouth open for an extended period.
– If you have a gene that raises your pain sensitivity.
– If you habitually chew gum this can increase your susceptibility to jaw problems.

Don’t be in pain any longer! To learn more, give our team a call today and we’ll diagnose and help you find the solution to treat your TMJ.