Jaw Joint Problems
Jaw joint problems are common, but they can be dealt with effectively especially if diagnosed properly and in their early stages. Also called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the jaw joint is where the lower jaw bone or mandible meets your skull. Jaw joint problems can cause headaches and discomfort in the whole facial area – which can be eased with the right kind of treatment.
Symptoms of Termopomandibular Problems
People suffering from a temporomandibular joint disorder may experience the symptoms listed below:
- Pain that radiates from the jaw area, around the ears and cheekbones; this pain can also be felt in the neck area.
- A cracking or clicking noise whenever the jaw joint is moved.
- Persistent headaches that radiate from the jaw area, especially when the jaw joint is moved.
- Jaw locking
- Changes in the way your teeth come together when the jaw is closed.
- A general stiffness when trying to open the mouth, or difficulty in opening the mouth.
Causes of Jaw Joint Problems
TMJ problems arise from one of these known causes:
- Misalignment of the Jaw – When your jaw is not properly aligned with the rest of your skull, the jaw joint will stop working smoothly. This condition can be caused by an injury to the jaw area, a dislocated jaw or when the thin disc located within the jaw (the articular disc) is in an incorrect position.
- Myofacial Pain – Tension in the face and muscle pain can lead to jaw joint problems; this is caused by teeth clenching or grinding (bruxism), injury, stress or holding onto things using your teeth.
- Jaw Joint Degeneration – Joint degeneration can result from injury, or rheumatoid arthritis.
Treatment of Temporomandibular Problems
Jaw joint problems can be treated effectively by an experienced dentist, so it is important to give your dentist all the information he needs to deal with your specific TMJ problems. You may be given some over the counter medications to help ease the pain caused by jaw joint problems – make sure that you know everything about the medications you will be taking. A bite splint, which is made of plastic and will comfortably fit over your lower or upper teeth, can prevent you from teeth clenching or grinding especially while you sleep. Relaxation exercises can also be suggested by your dentist to ease the pain brought about by tension in your jaw joint.
In rare cases when a bite splint or relaxation exercises do not help, your dentist may suggest that you consult with an oral surgeon for possible surgical procedures. This is Dentistry has a comprehensive directory of dentists who can help you in dealing with TMJ problems, so you can lead a life without the pain caused by jaw joint problems.
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