Over 35 million Americans suffer with Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome, or TMJ. TMJ is a disorder in the nerves and muscles of the jaw that can cause pain when chewing, along with a whole host of other symptoms.
Since November is TMJ Awareness Month, we wanted to take a moment to explain what it is, what causes it, and how we at Exceptional Smiles Family Dentistry can help if you suffer from it.
What Is TMJ Syndrome?
TMJ affects the temporomandibular joint, which connects your jawbone to your skull. When it is injured, many symptoms can occur, including:
- pain, clicking, popping or crackling when chewing
- swelling on the sides of the face
- headaches or migraines
- inflammation of nerves
- muffled hearing or crackling in the ears
- ear pain
- stiff or sore muscles in the jaw, neck and shoulders
- locking or dislocation of the joint when yawning
What Causes TMJ?
There are many possible causes for TMJ. It is usually caused by a combination of two or more of the following:
- misalignment or trauma to the teeth or jaw
- teeth grinding
- orthodontic braces
- stress or anxiety
- jaw clenching
- poor posture
- excessive gum chewing
How Exceptional Smiles Can Help Prevent and Treat TMJ
While there is no one accepted treatment, there are certain habits and risk factors that can be corrected to help prevent it. If you have issues with teeth grinding, Dr. Eye can fit you for a custom mouth guard to protect your teeth while you sleep. For pain caused by misalignment, Invisalign braces can correct crooked teeth and under- or overbites.