TMJ2021-02-17T16:02:30+00:00

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TMJ

Looking for a helpful guide to TMJ? You’re in the right place! We’ve assembled this succinct and straight-forward guide to TMJ packed with helpful information answering some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this health condition.

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A GUIDE TO TMJ

Do you ever get a clicking jaw when you open your mouth too wide? Or is it sore to touch your jaw especially around your ear? This could be a sign of TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder. This pain can cause so many different issues in our body such as headaches, sleeping issues, difficulty chewing and teeth grinding. Fortunately, this is a very treatable condition and treatments can be as simple as creating a bite guard to wear at night to stop you from grinding your teeth. There are also lots of different pressure points around the jaw and face that can be released for pain relief. Find out more below in our TMJ guide.

  • What Is TMJ?

  • What Causes TMJ?

  • What Are Common Symptoms Of TMJ?

  • How Do You Treat TMJ?

  • What Medications Help TMJ?

  • Do I Need To See A Doctor?

  • Can TMJ Be Cured?

  • Can You Treat TMJ By Yourself?

WHAT IS TMJ?

TMJ in its simplest sense is an acronym for the Temporomandibular joint, the area in which your mandible (jaw) connects to your Temple (a landmark on the skull). However it’s also a term that has been commonly and incorrectly interchanged with TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder) used to describe a disorder in the jaw causing one or a number of symptoms to the person suffering from the disorder and can last many years. The temporomandibular joint acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. Dysfunction in this sliding motion can lead to a variety of symptoms and pain. TMJ is very common and over 3 million people a year report issues.

What Is TMJ?
Back Pain

WHAT CAUSES TMJ?

We don’t currently know the exact reason behind TMJ, like many health conditions there isn’t one cause that can be singled out as the sole reason why you or a person you know may be affected. It can be attributed to many factors such as arthritis, genetics, over clenching of the jaw or grinding your teeth. Many people are not conscious of the fact that they clench/ grind their teeth as much as they do it in their sleep. In many cases the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ is often temporary and can be relieved by self-management by changing a few lifestyle habits. However more severe cases of TMJ could be attributed to arthritis, bone degeneration, or an accident in which a person experienced a strong impact.

These all can be a source of TMJ disorder via the means of causing the once smooth motion of the joint which include both hinging and gliding to move in improper alignment. Nail biting, or chronic clenching of your teeth can cause repetitive motion injury in both the bone structure by moving a shock absorbing disk found in the joint out of alignment, and muscle tendon or ligament damage. Even tooth decay has been found to contribute to the problem according to some dentists. You should seek medical attention if the pain persists and you continue to have tenderness in your jaw or cannot open and close your jaw completely.

WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS OF TMJ?

The main symptom of TMJ is chronic pain, which can include toothaches, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, so it is not limited to just around the jaw. There can also be a tenderness, swelling, and/or inflammation around the ear, jaw, and face in general. People also report feeling a “numb” or “tired” sensation on one or both sides of their face. Certain activities can exacerbate these symptoms, most people suffering from TMJ will have discomfort and/or pain while eating and chewing. Your jaw can even make sounds, such as clicking, crackling, or grinding noises (as well as sensations) especially while talking or eating (this may or may not be accompanied by pain). In more severe cases, the jaw can get “locked” or “stuck”, resulting in a person having difficulty opening or closing their mouth, or it may cease to fully close or open altogether.

Since one of the causes of TMJ is teeth grinding, symptoms can also include an uneven alignment of the jaw, leading to sore muscles. Some people experience an “uncomfortable bite”, as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting properly. If the cause of TMJ is an injury or arthritis, then the cartilage in the joint can be damaged, eroded or moved out of it’s proper alignment. A lesser known symptom is tinnitus, which is a ringing in the ears. So many of the senses can be affected by TMJ symptoms.

What Are Symptoms Of TMJ?
How Do You Treat TMJ?

HOW DO YOU TREAT TMJ?

Depending on the cause, because as we stated above it can be nuanced. A dentist may prescribe some over the counter drugs known as NSAID’S (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs.), like Ibuprofen, or naproxen in order to alleviate pain they believe to be coming from swelling. A natural anti-inflammatory medicine such as OPC 95, which is derived from grape seed extract, is an alternative option you can use as well. Another option from a natural approach is you could try using turmeric if you wish to avoid these NSAID’s. Some cases call for a physical therapy approach, in which certain stretches and exercises for your face and jaw are prescribed.

You may also be told to try and remain conscious of the things you do in your daily life that may add too much tension to your jaw, such as keeping your teeth from clenching (including not chewing gum, or wearing a night guard/splint at night while you sleep), avoiding resting your chin on your hand, eating softer foods (some people may be good about eating their veggies, but may also be negatively affected by eating them raw.). Relaxation techniques like massage, meditation, or heat and cold therapy are included in this form of remedy. In certain cases such as tooth decay some surgical-like intervention may be prescribed but are often put off unless deemed as absolutely necessary.

Explore Recent Blog Posts

Want to know more about TMJ? Discover some of our recent blog posts discussing this health condition and learn more.

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