Have you ever noticed that your jaw is making noises when you talk or chew? This is one of the most common symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, otherwise known as TMD.
What is TMJ?
The TMJ is the joint that connects your lower jaw to the bones of your skull. In a good situation, you aren’t aware of your jaw joint as you go about your days. Usually, if you have pain or noises in that joint, it means that something is off. Jaw joint dysfunction can have domino effects on other parts of your body. Neck and shoulder soreness, dizziness, tooth pain, headaches, and pain in the ear are often sited as symptoms associated with TMD.
A little bit of clicking and popping doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a serious problem that needs fixing though. Some noise here and there without any other symptoms may be tolerated without treatment. Anti-inflammatories, stretching and time may help relieve the temporary muscle pull or misalignment.
Why it’s Happening
There are several reasons why the joint may not be working properly. Grinding or clenching, misaligned teeth and arthritis are all very common culprits. A healthy jaw joint depends on a stable and close to perfect relationship between the upper and lower set of teeth. When a patient’s bite is not well adjusted, the muscles surrounding the joint pull abnormally and sometimes get inflamed. There are circumstances where jaw damage can happen suddenly, like car accidents and drastic changes in dental work, but most often times we find that symptoms were sporadic and got progressively worse with time.
What Should I Do Now
Call us right away! Our doctors specialize in TMJ Therapy so we would be your first line of defense. A thorough examination will help determine exactly what’s causing such a noisy jaw joint. Often times, our approach will include bite adjustments, replacement of worn teeth, adding new stronger crowns as needed and making custom fit nightguards to offset nighttime clenching habits. You can always work toward a more comfortable and less noisy jaw by reducing crunchy and hard foods. Relaxation techniques, stretching and massage therapy can also work wonders for a problematic jaw joint.