Do you experience constant clicking, locking and popping of your jaw? How about painful chewing, headache, earache or discomfort around your temple area? If your answer is yes to these questions – you might be suffering from TMJ disorders.
TMJ or temporomandibular joint attaches your jawbone (mandible) to your skull (temporal bone). This joint is located on each side of your jaw just right in front of your ears. TMJ disorders are a pain, literally! TMJ can cause pain, particularly, the muscles that control your jaw movement.
It is difficult to distinguish what may have cause a person to suffer from TMJ disorders. There are several factors at play such as genetics, arthritis, stress or even jaw injury. Underlying medical condition like certain connective tissue diseases could also account for this disorder. Habitual clenching or grinding could also be blamed for this, but not everyone who clenches and grinds their teeth develop such disorders.
Cartilage and small shock-absorbing disks surrounds the parts of the bones that interact in the joint. Their purpose is to keep the movement as smooth as possible. Painful TMJ can occur if:
Nevertheless, what causes TMJ disorders in most cases are uncertain.
Your doctor or dentist may discuss your symptoms and examine your jaw before officially diagnosing you with TMJ disorders. Your medical care providers will most likely listen, feel, and observe the range of motion of your jaw when you open and close your mouth. They may also apply pressure on various areas around your jaw to identity sites of pain and discomfort. X-Rays & CT/MRI scans could also help to properly diagnose TMJ disorders by providing detailed images and reveal problems pertaining to the joint’s disks or surrounding soft tissue.
Painful symptoms of TMJ disorders may go away on its own, however, if symptoms persist please see a doctor. You may take over the counter pain medications but if these are not enough your doctor can prescribe you stronger pain reliever, anti-inflammatories, low dose tricyclic antidepressants, or muscle relaxants to ease discomfort.
Other than oral medication, you could also benefit from the following: