November is TMJ awareness month. While TMJ disorder is a common ailment, many people do not recognize the symptoms and continue to suffer. We put together a fact sheet, so you can be informed:
What is TMJ? - This is an acronym for the Temporo Mandibular Joint. It is located between your lower and upper jaw. Within the joint, there is cartilage that cushions the joint when you open and close your mouth, move your jaw from side to side, speak, or chew food.
What is a TMJ disorder? - A disorder occurs if the cartilage within your joint erodes, slips or swells. It will cause pain. And, your jaw will not function correctly.
What are the symptoms of TMJ disorder? - When the cartilage is not functioning properly, you can experience a clicking sound in the jaw, throbbing headaches, earaches, pain or tenderness in the jaw, soreness in the neck and shoulders, and painful chewing. It may be difficult to open your mouth wide or your jaw may lock up.
What causes TMJ disorders? - Causes may include arthritis, stress, teeth grinding, a misaligned bite, braces or other orthodontic work. It can also be caused by poor posture, such as continually looking down at a computer.
What should you do if you think you have a TMJ disorder? - First, you can try some self-care steps at home. These include gentle massage to the joint area, applying a cold pack, avoiding foods that require a lot of chewing, reducing stress in your life, and maintaining a good posture at work.
If these simple steps do not help your pain, you can make an appointment with your dentist to discuss other options for TMJ treatment.
If think you may be suffering from TMJ, First Choice Dental Care can help you get a diagnosis and help you find solutions. Make an appointment online or contact our office here.