Do you wake up with headaches, shoulder pain or stiffness in your jaw? Have you noticed clicking or popping noises when you open your mouth? Are your mornings plagued by earaches or migraines? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, you could be suffering from TMJ disorder.
What exactly is TMJ disorder?
TMJ disorder is a group of symptoms that affect the temporomandibular joint (the joint that connects the skull to the lower jaw). This joint is heavily involved in lots of common day to day actions, including yawning, speaking and opening and closing the mouth. Sometimes it can also fall foul to added pressure and tension that causes unpleasant symptoms, such as discomfort and a reduced range of movement. If you hold your fingers on your face just to the side of your ear lobes and open your mouth, you will be able to feel the joint in action.
TMJ disorder is also known as myofascial pain disorder. It is very common and affects up to 30 percent of adults in their lifetime.
Common signs of TMJ disorder include clenching, clicking and popping noises when using the jaw, pain in and around the joint, headaches, migraines, reduced movement, stiffness and neck and shoulder pain.
What causes TMJ disorder?
Tooth grinding, also known as bruxism, is one of the most common causes of TMJ disorder. This sub-conscious action is often linked to stress and it can cause damage to the teeth, as well as increased tension in the facial muscles. Loose fillings and an uneven bite can also increase the risk of bruxism. Injuries and conditions that affect the jaw can also contribute to TMJ disorder.
Treating TMJ disorder at Aqua Dental
The treatment path for TMJ disorder is usually determined by the cause. In many cases, no formal treatment is required and symptoms subside independently. In cases linked to bruxism, we are able to supply custom-made bite guards to prevent tooth grinding while you sleep. This helps to reduce tension and prevent symptoms. If you think you may have TMJ disorder and the symptoms sound familiar, give us a call today.