If this is the first time you’ve heard about TMJ disorders, you should know it’s about your oral health. Read on to learn more about it.
Opening your mouth to yawn, eat, or even sing seems like such a natural action. But the mechanics that your body uses to create these actions can be quite complicated.
There are a lot of moving parts beneath your skin, and one of the biggest players in these daily actions is the TMJ.
The TMJ, or the temporomandibular joint, connects your skull to your jawbone like a sliding hinge where each side of your jaw has a joint.
TMJ disorders can cause terrible pain to the muscles that control the hinge-like movement as well as in the jaw joint itself.
The TMJ has a structure that is very unique compared to other joints inside your body.
It is composed of a protrusion of the mandible that is rounded and sits up against the skull. Between the skull and mandible is an indentation that has cartilage with a structure similar to that of a disc, called the articular disc.
Ligaments hold these various parts together from all different parts of your neck and head, and they are important for supporting your jaw and guiding the movements of it.
In order for your lower jaw to move, it also needs the help of several muscles that are connected to these ligaments.
Signs And Symptoms Of TMJ Disorders
Like any other part of your body, it can have issues that prevent it from operating correctly. It can be fractured, sore, and just plain painful.
Fortunately, TMJ pain is temporary for many patients and can be treated with ice and heat to relieve your sore muscles and ligaments around the joint.
Here are the possible signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders:
- Pain while chewing or difficulty chewing;
- Tenderness in the jaw;
- Jaw pain;
- Aching pain around and within your ear;
- Aching pain in your face;
- Joint locking, making it hard to close and open your mouth;
- Face swelling on the sides.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is helpful to contact a reputable dentist in your area – such as this one known in Calgary NW – to examine the area and determine how to treat it.
Sometimes after chewing up a tough steak, your mouth can start to ache, but the pain should not be lasting more than a few minutes or hours.
When your jaw starts to ache, and the pain doesn’t go away on its own, you should consult a professional.
How To Keep Your Jaw Healthy
Just like you work hard to keep your teeth healthy, you should also work to keep your jaw healthy.
This means regular dentist visits to make sure there are no complications during your dental exams and continuing to brush your teeth properly.
Using proper toothpaste, a clean toothbrush, and flossing regularly can help reduce any wear to your enamel that may be caused by a TMJ condition.
Although it is rare, surgery can be required to fix more serious TMJ problems. Your dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon if that is needed. But you need to go to the dentist, to begin with, in order to make sure that surgery is the best route for you.
In order to avoid the severe discomfort and pain this can cause, here are a few causes of these negative conditions that you should look out for:
- Clenching or grinding your teeth, as this puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on your joint;
- Unnatural movement of the soft, cushion-like disc next to the joint;
- Arthritis in the area;
- Stress, which can make you tighten your jaw muscles and other facial muscles (watch for teeth clenching here as well).
Hopefully, these signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders will make you more conscious regarding your oral health.
Remember, you must treat your entire body with care, not just your abdominal muscles. Good overall health is the key for a healthy lifestyle.