Do you suffer from reoccurring jaw pain? Maybe your jaw clicks and pops when opening and closing your mouth? You might have a disorder of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The National Institute of Dental Craniofacial Research reports 5% to 12% of the population have chronic pain caused by a temporomandibular disorder (TMD). Several factors can lead to the onset of the disorder. Identifying the cause is crucial to stop your pain. Here are 5 commonly found culprits behind TMD.
5 Common Causes of TMJ Disorders
Your temporomandibular joint is located on either side of your face, connecting your jaw to your skull. The hinge allows you to move your jaw for eating, speaking, and yawning. When issues occur with the jaw or relating muscles, it can limit the functions of the joint and a variety of symptoms, like facial pain or headaches.
Your dentist can provide you with the relief you need by identifying the cause of the problem, such as:
- Previous Injury to the Joint: Any previous injuries to the head, neck, or jaw can affect your TMJ, like whiplash.
- Bruxism: The habitual habit of grinding and clenching the teeth places unnecessary strain on the teeth and joints.
- Movement of the Soft Cushion: Your TMJ has a soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket. Movement of the cushion, such as from injury or arthritis, can lead to jaw pain.
- Stress: Stress isn’t just bad for your state of mind. It also causes you to tighten your facial and jaw muscles. This increases the likeliness of bruxism, which can worsen TMD symptoms.
- Poor Bite: If there isn’t harmony between the teeth of the upper and lower arches, it can lead to uneven pressure distribution that strains the TMJ.
4 Tips to Manage TMD Symptoms
TMD can affect your quality of life, and not in a good way. Thankfully, your dentist can create the personalized plan you need to stop your pain. After determining the cause, they’ll recommend an appropriate treatment, like a nightguard for bruxism or braces to fix your bite. While you wait for your appointment, you can try a few things at home to ease your discomfort, such as:
- Anti-Inflammatory: An anti-inflammatory will reduce muscle pain and swelling.
- Heat and Cold Packs: Apply ice to the joint for 10 minutes and stretch your jaw before placing a hot towel on your face for 5 minutes.
- Eat Soft Foods: Choose foods that are easy to chew, like mashed potatoes or yogurt.
- Stress-Relieving Exercises: Relaxation techniques can loosen your muscles to prevent grinding and clenching.
Don’t spend another day living with jaw pain. Contact your dentist for TMJ therapy today.
About Dr. Dale Greer
Dr. Greer is a graduate of the Baylor College of Dentistry. He has completed extensive continuing education to provide advanced services, like TMD therapy. Voted as “One of the Best Dentists in Dallas” and “Texas Super Dentist,” he has the qualifications you can trust. Contact our office today to stop your jaw pain.