Have you ever yawned really wide and felt your jaw catch? Or perhaps when chewing vigorously, you feel like your jaws have gotten out of alignment? Do you have headaches and jaw pain? All of these symptoms can be signals that your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is not functioning properly.
A Little Information About the TMJ
Each of your TMJs include a small fibrous disk between a ball and socket. These connect your skull to each side of your jaw. These hinges are made so they can move up, down, side to side, and back and forth. All of these motions are necessary for you to be able to open and close your mouth, chew your food, and more. When the function of the muscles and joints is affected by pain, we refer to it as TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder). The disorder can occur suddenly, or it can be apparent for years while you feel the pain but don’t know the underlying cause.
Signs of TMD
In addition to the signs already mentioned, jaw clicking and popping, pain in your ear, and difficulty chewing can signal TMD. Ringing in your ears, headaches, dizziness, toothaches, and an aching neck could also be indicators. The disorder can occur at any age and even affect children, but onset is most common in people from 20 to 40 years old.
How Use Contributes to TMD
The TMJ gets a lot of use, which sometimes leads to deterioration of the disk in the joint. Arthritis can lead to deterioration of the joint cartilage, and repeated teeth grinding and clenching are associated with a higher chance of TMD. Further complicating matters, the disorder is sometimes difficult to diagnose because it can be related to injuries, or even genetics.
What Can Be Done to Treat TMD?
Every instance of TMD is unique and will require diagnosis and specific treatment. Pain can be reduced through pain relievers and muscle relaxants. Other therapies include ultrasound therapy, relaxation exercises, and the application of moist heat and ice. Additional treatments are also available when necessary.
Contact Our Office
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed here or facial and jaw pain of any kind, contact our office for an examination. We can properly diagnose your condition and deliver the therapy required for your unique situation. We serve Granger, Middlebury, Warsaw, and Plymouth, Indiana, and the surrounding area.