Have you noticed a strange clicking sensation in your jaw? Do you have unexplained neck or ear pain or headaches? Does your jaw ever feel strained or stiff?
You are probably experiencing the symptoms of a TMJ problem. A lot of people complain about having “TMJ,” but what does that mean?
Your Jaw is Important!
“TMJ” is actually an abbreviation for something that you should have! It stands for “temporomandibular joint.” Yes, “TMJ” is much easier to say. The joint is where your lower jaw connects to either side of your skull. If you put your fingers just in front of your ears while you open and close your mouth, you can feel how the joint glides in and out of position.
Thanks to this smooth-sliding joint and some strong muscles, you can laugh, smile, eat, talk, and yawn without too much effort. But when there is a problem with the TMJ, all of these natural activities suddenly become surprisingly uncomfortable.
Everyone with a lower jaw should have a “TMJ.” It’s natural and necessary! If the joint develops an issue, then it’s loosely termed TMJ disorder.
The symptoms of a disorder may include:
- Jaw locking
- Unusual clicking or grinding sounds
- Limited jaw opening
- Pain that radiates to the neck
What causes this discomfort?
TMJ disorder can be tricky to diagnose. It may be connected to an existing condition such as arthritis or the result of a teeth-clenching habit. It could even be caused by an uneven bite. There are a variety of factors that can strain your joint.
TMJ Care and at Home Tooth Care in Centennial, CO
You can start trying to alleviate TMJ pain at home with the following tricks:
- Resting your jaw
- Applying a warm damp towel to your joint
- Gentle stretching exercises
- Applying an ice pack
For more tips and a complete TMJ evaluation, visit Dr. Kathleen Young here at Young Family Cosmetic Dentistry, a dentist in Centennial, CO. We’re committed to helping you have a beautiful and comfortable smile!