Your dentist can do a lot of things for you, such as correct imperfections in your smile and help you to have healthy teeth and gums. If you suffer with TMJ, your dentist can also help you to find relief. Here are 8+ things you might not know about TMJ.
What is TMJ?
“TMJ” is often used as a catch all term to describe pain in the jaw joint. This pain and tenderness in the joint is usually just one part of it – those who have TMJ also often have headaches, pain in and around the ear, and even muscle aches in the neck and shoulders. Your bottom and top teeth may not feel like they align properly when you close your mouth, your jaw may feel like it “locks up,” and you may hear a clicking or popping sound from the joint when you chew.
You should also know:
1. Bad posture can contribute to TMJ pain.
2. If you are missing a tooth, that can lead to TMJ. Your other teeth start to move, which causes misalignment of your jaw.
3. You should avoid hard and chewy foods, but also avoid using your teeth as tools (such as to open packages) and avoid chewing on nonfood items, such as pen caps.
4. You may have already realized that stress can tighten up your jaw muscles and cause pain. It may help your TMJ pain to find ways to reduce stress, such as meditation or yoga.
5. TMJ and bruxism (teeth grinding) are linked.
6. There also seems to be a link between TMJ and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
7. TMJ can be caused by an injury, a connective tissue disease, or it can be genetic.
8. Massaging your jaw joint can help you to find relief. A heating pad or over-the-counter pain relievers can also help (although taking too much ibuprofen or other pain relievers can be bad for you – talk with your doctor).
If you are having pain in your jaw, your dentist can help. Make an appointment today with Dr. Samuel Jirik’s office in Cabot, Arkansas. Call (501) 843-9561 today!