Many people suffer from TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders. These affect your right and left jaw joints, causing popping and pain. Essentially your jaw joints and chewing muscles aren’t working together. This problem gets worse if it isn’t addressed.
WHAT CAUSES TMJ DISORDERS?
A misaligned bite can be the cause of TMJ disorder, or it can even be the result of it. Clinching or grinding your teeth at night is one of the most common causes of TMJ. This tightens your jaw muscles, tiring them out and stressing your TM joint. In addition, arthritis or disease can damage a jaw. An injury may stretch or tear muscle ligaments. If this happens, the cartilage disk which cushions the jaw joint may slip out of position. Regardless of the reason, the condition can be painful.
COMMON INDICATORS OF A TMJ DISORDER
Here’s a quick way to determine if you have TMJ. If you say yes to very many of these, you need help with TMJ.
Do you experience any of these pain symptoms?
- Pain when you talk, eat or yawn
- Popping your jaw is painful
- Opening your jaw is painful
- Frequent headaches or neck aches
- Stiff, sore muscles around your jaws when you wake up
Are you aware of any of these structural problems?
- Trouble opening your mouth wide for talking, eating or yawning
- Clicking or grating noise associated with opening your mouth
- Teeth don’t always align properly
- Teeth don’t touch when you bite
- Front teeth can’t bite or tear food as well as they should
- Many sensitive, broken, loose or worn teeth
Are you aware of any of these causes in your life?
- Arthritis in the jaw or other joints
- Neck, head or jaw injuries
- Grinding or Clenching your teeth at night
In certain cases, bite corrective surgery could be an answer. Generally it is a last resort option used for severe cases. Perhaps the jaw is stuck or dislocated and has severe degeneration. Our surgeons can perform open joint repair restructuring or arthorascopy when other options have been exhausted.
Short-term methods of treatment for pain and muscle spasm include a muscle relaxant, an anti-inflammatory medication, and a pain reliever. Steroid injections into the joints can reduce pain and inflammation. Self-help methods include eating soft foods, resting your jaw, applying ice and heat, and keeping your teeth apart when you aren’t eating. Long-term methods include a mouth guard or splint to prevent clenching and grinding.