TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. It connects your lower jaw to the rest of your skull at the temporal bone. This joint is responsible for controlling functions in your jaw such as chewing. Should you be experiencing pain in your chewing muscles or the joint itself, it is entirely possible you are suffering from temporomandibular disorder, or TMD. This can be brought on by things such as teeth grinding, constant clenching of the jaw muscles or even stress.
Some symptoms of TMD include:
- Clicking or popping sounds when opening your mouth
- Your jaw becoming stuck shut or open
- Pain when closing or opening your mouth
- Teeth Grinding
- Ear pain or headaches
- Trouble Chewing
Some of these symptoms are associated with several other health problems. A medical professional can accurately diagnose if they are due to TMD. Teeth grinding is extremely unsettling because it can lead to other issues it left untreated. Extended grinding of the teeth, otherwise known as bruxism, will cause your tooth enamel to wear off and can expose dentin. Dentin is much softer than enamel and can begin to decay. You may also develop a sensitivity to cold or hot drinks and foods from bruxism.
If you believe you have TMD, seek the aid of a dentist as soon as possible. We can assist you with proper diagnosis and give you relief from your symptoms. A hot or cold compress and pain relievers will give some short lived relief. A night guard will assist with the issue of teeth grinding while you sleep. These will eventually lead to a more permanent solution. Changes in your everyday behavior should be enough to provide relief from these symptoms. Should you have an extreme case, TMD surgery will most likely be required.