TMJ, short for temporomandibular disorder, is a painful condition that needs immediate treatment. It is said to affect over 10 million Americans, and is more common among women.
We at Aesthetic Family Dentistry receive dozens of patients who suffer through TMJ disorder, with many not even aware of its severity.
What starts as minute pain, can easily get more painful if proper treatment is not taken.
TMJ disorder is mostly due to the misalignment of the jaw, which makes a popping and clicking sound, every time you try to move it.
TMJ disorder is also referred to as Costen’s syndrome, as one of the two muscles or jaws can have moving problems that make the jaw stiff and hard to move. Thus, you can suffer immense pain when trying to open your mouth. This can make it very difficult to complete simple tasks, such as talking and eating.
Let’s have a look at the possible factors which may lead to TMJ disorder:
Causes of TMJ Disorder
- Terrible Headaches and Ear Pain
The skull’s temporal bones (aligned in front of each ear) are connected to the lower jaw. This combination helps you move your jaw both vertically and horizontally by working as a hinge. However, if you have TMJ disorder may feel pain around your ears, along with a pounding sound.
This is because too much pressure is exerted on these temporal bones when your jaw is misaligned. This can give you severe head and earaches says Dr. Anisa Quadir a Dentist in Maple Ridge, BC.
- Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding is one of the most common causes of jaw pain. This is because it causes excess wear and tear on the TMJ lining.
Teeth grinding mostly occurs at night and you may not even know that you’re grinding your teeth in your sleep.
This grinding can result in severe pain and even damage the teeth.
Malocclusions (misaligned teeth) is one of the leading causes of TMJ disorder. If you have misaligned teeth, you may find it daunting to chew food.
Affected people often chew food from the other side of the jaw. This may cause TMJ as one side of the jaw is in constant use, which puts a lot of pressure on it that can cause damage.
- Constant Wear and Tear On The Jaw
Surprisingly, placing the phone between your head and shoulders for a long time can cause TMJ as well. This is because the jaw is placed in one position for a long time and it may exert stress on the area and cause pain.
Stress on the teeth is also a cause of TMJ disorder.
Staying in one position can also cause your jaw to weaken over time and result in conditions such as TMJ disorder. Other than this, habits such as nail biting may also cause TMJ disorder.
- Muscle Spasms
Feeling pain in the jaw for a long period of time is dangerous. The pain can spread and even reach the shoulders and neck. This is because pain has the tendency to travel, as a result, one stressed muscle can put pressure on other muscles, which is why you should find a solution quickly.
Pain in the shoulder and neck can often result in TMJ disorder, as the pain may travel to the teeth or jaw.
Face swelling is also common if you have TMJ. Sometimes, the swelling is only found around the mouth area.
TMJ disorder can be treated in many ways. The right TMJ treatment depends on the root cause of the disorder. Options include:
- Applying a Mouthguard
This solution is effective if you are in the habit of grinding and clenching your teeth while asleep. A mouth guard can prevent this, and even help you balance the bite.
- Ice Therapy
Applying ice on the place where it hurts can help reduce swelling and pain. However, make sure to use an ice pack or to wrap ice in a towel as applying it directly on your skin may cause additional damage.
- Jaw Rest
One of the most common reasons for jaw pain is constant wear and tear. Giving your jaw timely rests can be great help. Jaw massage, using anti-inflammatory medications, and avoiding chewing on hard things can help treat TMJ.
- Visit Your Dentist
It is important that you visit a dentist if the pain persists. In some cases, only a medical professional can help treat the problem, so visit your dentist as soon as you notice the pain.
Take TMJ Symptoms Seriously
TMJ disorder shouldn’t be taken lightly and immediate treatment options should be considered. Learn more about TMJ causes and treatment by contacting Aesthetic Family Dentistry in Phoenix, AZ. Make your appointment today by calling 480-515-0404.