In your jaw, there are temporomandibular joints that hinge your jaw to your mouth. These joints operate through muscles and ligaments which let you open your mouth, eat your food, talk, and create facial expressions. Cushioned by a small cartilage disk, the ball and socket allow slip in the joint so you can chew and grind the food you eat. For those who grind their teeth while sleeping, the tension caused can put a great deal of pressure on these disks, leading to arthritis, abnormal muscle tension, and pain.
Symptoms of TMJ disorder may include the following:
- Pain when opening your mouth.
- Pain when biting down hard.
- Soreness in the jaw early in the morning.
- A persistent dull ache near the ears or temple.
Common factors that can cause TMJ include the following:
- If you have experienced sudden trauma to your mouth/jaw
- Your bite is off so your teeth no longer fit together correctly.
- A connective tissue disorder, arthritis or skeletal malformation which keeps your muscles, bones, and joints from working together in harmony.
- If your posture is habitually poor, this will cause wear and tear on your joints, even your jaw joints over time.
- If you are under excessive stress, whether physical or emotional. For example, if you clench or grind your teeth constantly without realizing it your jaw joints will pay the price.
- If you are chronically breathing through your mouth, you may have issues with snoring and or sleep apnea. Treatment often includes wearing a custom-made orthotic (splint) to stabilize your jaw. Temporary pain relief may also be aided by analgesics, muscle relaxants, anxiolytics, and anti-depressants.
If you have questions or concerns about TMJ disorder, please call our team at 918-272-0707 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Michael Sanchez, DDS. At Renaissance Dental in Owasso, Oklahoma, we offer early diagnosis and effective treatment so that you can resume your daily living as pain-free as possible.