Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, commonly referred to as “TMJ”, are conditions that often cause pain or dysfunction of the jaw joint. For unknown reasons women are more affected than men, and it is estimated that over 10 million people in America are affected. Many people have temporary TMJ that does not suggest a serious problem. Stress is thought to be a major factor in TMJ. Therefore when a stressful event is over, many people find relief from their TMJ pain.
The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw to the temporal bone in the skull. Muscles attached to the jaw joint control its movement and position. When the jaw is out of alignment or the muscles are strained, pain can be felt around the jaw or the skull. Headaches are a common complaint of people with TMJ disorder.
Many sufferers from TMJ report that they clench their jaw and grind their teeth when they are stressed. Repeatedly doing these actions can definitely lead to TMJ pain. Jaw muscle stiffness and radiating pain in the face, jaw, and head are often associated with TMJ. People who grind their teeth and/or clench their jaws while sleeping often find relief by wearing mouth guards while they sleep. These mouth guards cushion the impact that grinding and clenching have on the jaw which results in less pain.
Other people who suffer from TMJ also report that they notice a change in the way their upper and lower teeth fit together when they chew or speak. If this is the case for you, report it to your Johns Creek dentists. Teeth that are out of alignment can cause damage. Having your TMJ treated soon after you notice it, especially if you feel that your alignment has been altered, can prevent other major oral health issues.
If you think you have a TMJ disorder, remember that the discomfort will typically go away on its own. Simple at-home procedures can help to alleviate your pain during a flare-up. See your dentist if you feel that your discomfort gets worse or affects the way you chew or speak.
Posted on behalf of Randy Muccioli
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