If your jaw is a pain in the neck, we may have an answer why. If you are having jaw pain that doesn't go away, you may have a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. If you have a disorder of your jaw joint, it is called temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. You aren't alone in your jaw pain. Researchers estimate that 10 million people have TMD. If you are worried that you are one of those 10 million people with a jaw joint disorder, Zhou Dental Care can give you more information about your jaw joint pain, and how we can help to make your jaw joint better.
The temporomandibular joint is a hinge joint between your upper and lower jaws. You have one TMJ on either side of your head. Your joint looks like a small hinge that moves up and down as well as back and forth. Within your jaw joint, a small disc of fibers allows your jaw to move without pain. When you have pain in your jaw joint, it's because your disc of fibers gets inflamed, which makes your jaw painful and difficult to move.
When you have TMD, you may have a problem with one of your jaw joints, or with both of them. There are some symptoms of TMD you may recognize. You might have pain when you open or close your mouth. Sometimes, you could have trouble opening or closing your mouth too. When you open your jaw, you might feel pain in your ears. Lots of people with TMD have headaches or neck pain. You could feel your jaws are sore all of the time, and you may even have muscle pain in the area of your jaws. Some people report the pain is worse when they yawn, chew, or bite down. Your jaw might even make noise, such as snapping, clicking or popping when you chew.
At this point, no one is sure what causes TMD. There are people who are at a higher risk of getting TMD. Women get TMD more frequently than men. People with arthritis are also at a higher risk of jaw joint pain. If you have bite problems, you are more likely to have TMD. Bite problems would affect people who have had a dislocated jaw, or if they suffer from bruxism. Bruxism is one of the main reasons people suffer from TMD. Bruxism is the medical term for clenching or grinding your teeth at night.
How Is TMD Treated?
We can help you with your TMD in several ways. We may tell you to take anti-inflammatory medicine, because this helps to reduce the inflammation in your jaw. There are exercises we can give you to help relieve the pain and strengthen your jaw. If you have bruxism, we can give you a guard to wear at night to help relieve the pain in your jaw. Some people also find that anxiety medication can help with TMD.
Are you having trouble with your TMD? We can help you with some ways to relieve your pain. Give Zhou Dental Care a call at 503-282-3884.