When you think about your joints, the first few that probably come to mind are the ones in your hands, knees, and elbows.
But there’s another joint in your body that you use more than any other, yet you may not even think about it at all until it stops working properly for you.
It’s your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, and it connects your skull to your jaw, allowing you to open and close your mouth. So you can imagine the kind of strain it’s under when you think about just how much you depend on it every single day!
Doesn’t it make sense, then, that if that joint starts to malfunction, it’s going to create some painful problems for you?
Today, your friends at Smiles by Dr. W & Dr. R in Boca Raton, FL are here to help you understand TMJ disorder and let you know how we can correct the problem and let you get back to a pain-free life!
Your Chronic Pain Could Hinge On TMJ Disorder!
See what we did there?
In all seriousness, the two hinges just below your ears control the movement of your jaw, and it’s constantly being used.
You rely on that joint all day, every day to eat, speak, yawn, laugh, sing… you name it! Any time you open and close your mouth, you’re using the TMJ.
Just like anything else, constant use can eventually lead to problems, and that’s when patients start noticing pain, muscle tension, issues with jaw mobility, and so on.
When your TMJ is off track, known as TMJ disorder (TMD), it’s important to correct it before the problems get worse.
Why Does Your Jaw Hurt?
Here are some of the reasons you might be experiencing pain or soreness in your jaw, face, head, or shoulders related to TMJ misalignment:
Are Your Teeth Misaligned?
If your upper and lower teeth don’t come together properly, you could have some issues with your jaw alignment. Close your mouth and see if you can bring your upper and lower teeth together naturally and comfortably. If you can’t, it could be a sign of TMJ disorder.
Do You Have Arthritis?
The joints in your fingers, hips, or knees can swell due to arthritis.
But so can your temporomandibular joint! This could be what’s causing all your uncomfortable symptoms.
Do You Grind Your Teeth?
Bruxism is a condition that’s closely linked to TMJ disorder. It’s when you grind your teeth together or clench your jaw, often without even realizing you’re doing it. Your dentist can often tell just by looking inside your mouth that you have bruxism, or your spouse may tell you that you grind your teeth while you sleep.
Were You Injured?
Any kind of blunt force to the face or head resulting from an accident or injury can misalign your jaw, which can make it a bit easier to trace your symptoms to a definite source.
But believe it or not, even an injury isn’t always an obvious cause because it doesn’t take a lot of force to knock your jaw joint slightly off track. You might get an elbow to the face while rolling around with the kids and then not make the connection later when you start to experience symptoms.
Do You Know If You Have TMJ Disorder?
Because the symptoms of TMJ disorder can be subtle and widespread, it’s not easy to self-diagnose. But here are a few signs you might be suffering from a misalignment in your jaw joint:
*Pain & Discomfort*
Like many health problems, pain or discomfort may be your first sign that something is wrong. TMJ disorder is no different. Some common symptoms are:
- Frequent headaches or migraines
- Facial swelling
- Stiffness or soreness in the jaw
- Muscle tension in the jaw, neck, or shoulders
*Noises In Your Jaw*
If you hear noises in your jaw joint when you speak, yawn, or chew, like clicking or popping, it’s highly likely that you have some sort of TMJ misalignment.
Your teeth are very close to your sinus cavity, so sometimes a problem with one will lead to a problem with the other. We find this is the case with some of our TMJ sufferers, where they might experience frequent sinus drainage as a result of their disorder.
Find Effective Solutions For TMJ Disorder!
When you have complicated problems with your jaw alignment, a one-size-fits-all approach just won’t work.
You need a highly-trained specialist who can evaluate the problem from multiple angles and then provide the solution that suits you best. That’s why we offer a couple of different strategies to correct TMJ disorder.
We can create custom oral splints that work like a mouthguard, separating your upper and lower jaw so you can’t clench and grind your teeth together. Not only can this method provide almost immediate relief from pain, but it also lets your TMJ heal properly so the problem doesn’t recur.
You can also take advantage of our massage therapy designed to relieve the pain and tension of jaw misalignment and the stress it puts on your muscles.
Combining massage therapy with a custom splint may be necessary to get you on the road to long-term healing so you can live pain-free!
If we find that your TMJ problems are being caused or aggravated by the position of your teeth or issues with your bite, we can also talk to you about orthodontic treatment options. We may also recommend an athletic mouthguard if you participate in sports to lower your risk for traumatic jaw injury.
Find Relief Today!
Why would you continue to suffer from the chronic, painful cycle of TMJ disorder?
The truth is, you shouldn’t have to, especially when help is available in Boca Raton!
Visit us for effective pain relief and healing solutions for TMJ problems now!
To schedule an appointment at Smiles by Dr. W & Dr. R, call us today at [phone] or fill out our convenient online form.