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Jaw Pain? You could have TMJ disorder

Updated: Dec 18, 2018

TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint. This is the joint between the lower jaw and the base of the skull, the part that moves when ‘chewing’.

The pain that can occur that, it is reported, can affect upto 30% of adults at sometime in their lifetime.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain in the jaw

  • Clicking or popping in the jaw joint

  • Difficulty chewing and eating

  • Pain in front of the ear that may spread to the cheek, ear and temple

  • Difficulty opening the mouth fully

  • Earache 

Sometimes these symptoms are mild but sometimes are strong enough to disturb your sleep. Most of the time, the condition rights itself in a few months.

Although the condition can occur for no reason, there are often a number of factors that trigger the it;

  • Stress! People who are stressed often, subconsciously clench their jaw of grind their teeth, which in turn over works the jaw muscles putting extra pressure on the joing

  • Wear and Tear – of the inside of this joint. Often a symptom of Osteoarthritis.Injury.

  • A blow to the face or surgery.

  • Uneven bite. New fillings, dentures or crowns can sometimes cause an uneven bite and need to be altered slightly to relieve the pressure.

  • Specific diseases. TMJ disorder can be associated with rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia

If you think you may be suffering with TMJ disorder, go and see your own dentist to get the condition diagnosed.

Making a few adjustments to your lifestyle or a few simple exercises can often help the condition such as;

  • resting the joint by eating soft food and avoiding chewing gum

  • holding a warm or cold flannel to the jaw for 10-20 minutes, several times a day

  • doing a few gentle jaw-stretching exercises – your dentist can recommend appropriate exercises

  • avoiding opening the joint too wide until the pain settles

  • avoiding clenching the teeth for long periods of time

For further information or advice contact College Street Dental Centre in Petersfield, Hampshire on 01730 263180


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