What is a TMJ Disorder?
Popping and clicking while you eat, speak, or yawn is one prominent sign of an issue with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This joint is located near your ear and acts as part of the hinge of your jaw — that means issues with it can cause major distress.
The Causes of TMD
The TMJ is located in a complicated area, so there are many potential causes of a disorder. The joint itself is also complex, combining the motions of a hinge with sliding and is cushioned by cartilage as well as a shock-absorbing disk.
If that disk erodes or becomes misaligned, the movement of your jaw may no longer be smooth. Another potential issue is if the cartilage erodes and no longer provides a cushion. Finally, if your TMJ is damaged during an accident, you may develop a temporomandibular disorder (TMD).
Clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth (bruxism) can cause tension to build up in your face, neck, and shoulders. Extended tension in these areas can begin to lead to muscle spasms, affecting your TMJ.
TMJ Issues & Arthritis
Symptoms of TMD
If you experience the following symptoms, there may be an issue with your TMJ:
- A sore jawbone joint
- Inflammation in the jawbone or joint
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Aching face and jaw
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
We encourage you to reach out to us by calling (718) 948-5111 if you’re concerned about the possibility of a TMD.
Treatment for Your TMJ
Though it’s possible for a TMD to go away on its own, taking a chance on no treatment could be a gamble that destroys your life. Even if you think your TMD is mild, we recommend having it checked out just in case.
For persistent and serious TMDs, we can help relieve your discomfort and improve the condition of your jaw. Our treatments include:
Exercises for TMJ Relief
Physical therapy can help to relieve your jaw pain as well as other symptoms by stretching and strengthening your jaw muscles.
At-home stretches and massages are a great way to relax your jaw muscles and treat pain throughout the day. If your jaw is bothering you, learning a few quick exercises can be an on-the-go relief.
Acupuncture has been shown to help with disorders such as back and knee pain, headaches, and osteoarthritis. Though it may not be for everyone, it may be able to relieve some of your symptoms.
Relaxation techniques can reduce your bodily tension, especially in the areas that affect your TMJ. Learning to relax your muscles through meditation or other means can help to reduce your symptoms.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I see a doctor for TMJ?
Treating your TMD before it develops into a serious condition can prevent you from going through pain and difficulty eating, speaking, and moving your jaw. If your TMJ pain is persistent and severe, we highly recommend reaching out to us.
What causes jaw pain when chewing?
If there’s an issue with your TMJ, you may experience pain while chewing due to the joint in your jaw grinding against itself in the wrong way.
Is ear pain when chewing or yawning normal?
Ear pain while chewing or yawning isn’t normal, and we recommend seeing a medical professional for treatment.
Should my jaw pop when I chew?
Though jaw popping can be a sign of a TMD, not all popping is indicative of a disorder. Your jaw popping may be benign, but it’s still best to get it checked out just in case.
Can TMJ cause hearing loss?
Yes, TMDs can lead to hearing loss due to the proximity of the TMJ to your ear.
Can TMJ cause muscle spasms?
TMDs and muscle tension are related, as tension in your jaw can cause issues with your TMJ. Extensive muscle tension can also lead to muscle spasms.
Can TMJ lead to sinus headaches?
One of the most common symptoms of a TMD is headaches.
What is the best pain medication for TMJ?
You can use over-the-counter pain medications for your TMD, but if you still experience pain we can help you find something that will comfort you.
We Can Relieve Your Pain
Living with a clicking jaw that causes pain every time you want to eat or speak is no way to live. It’s time to find a solution to your jaw pain, and we can help.
To learn more about how we can help you, call our office at (718) 948-5111 to speak with us. You can also send us a message through our online contact form to chat with us.
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