Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ) is a condition where the movement in the top joint of your jaw that connects with your skull becomes limited, radiates with pain, or shifts the way your teeth settle in your mouth. It is easy to find if you put your fingers in front of your ears and move your jaw side to side.
Information on TMJ
This area contains the joint that is responsible for allowing us to chew, talk, and yawn. A study found that about 12% of people in the United States experience TMJ at one point or another. Although TMJ occurs most commonly in women, this condition can affect anyone. If you have injuries to your mouth or jaw, you are more susceptible to TMJ. Popping or clicking of the jaw when you open and close your mouth is a common side effect of the condition, but does not always directly correlate to TMJ. In severe cases, it may cause pain to radiate throughout your temple, ears, neck, and shoulders.
Treatment for TMJ
Treatment can vary depending on the severity of your condition but typically does not require aggressive action. Conservative treatments for TMJ are noninvasive and often do not involve surgery. To ease any pain you may feel, eat foods that are easy to chew as well as using cold liquids and ice packs to settle discomfort. Avoid clenching your teeth tightly and do not do excessively exercise your jaw for activities such as singing and chewing gum.
If you think you are suffering from TMJ, schedule an appointment with your dentist and tell them about your symptoms. Typically the condition will go away on its own; however, some cases may need to explore more extensive treatments. Regardless of the severity, you should speak with a professional. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
The dental experts at Signature Smiles are highly skilled at working with their patients to determine the best treatment on an individual basis. We check for TMJ at all of our regular dental exams. To relieve your discomfort or to get more information about TMJ, call us at (248) 557-5756. We often have same day appointments available.