Everyone has a temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is the hinge connecting your jaw to your temporal bones. It’s an important part of your skull that helps you to chew, swallow, and talk.
There might be some days when your jaw aches or makes a popping sound when used. However, when that pain becomes much more severe than usual, it might be time to book an appointment with your dentist. You could have a temporomandibular disorder (TMD)!
What Are the Symptoms of TMJ?
- Pain or tenderness around your ear or jaw
- Facial pain
- Headaches or migraines
- Popping, grinding, crunching, or clicking noises
- Pain or discomfort when chewing
- Locking of your jaw
Many of these TMJ symptoms might be felt alone, at different points in your life. However, when paired with an increase in severity, it might be time to talk to your dentist.
What Are the Causes?
TMJ doesn’t have a single, underlying cause. In most cases, it is a combination of different factors, such as:
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Autoimmune diseases
How Do I Relieve My TMJ Pain?
Treatments for TMJ can usually be performed at home. You can put a cold or warm compress on the affected area and gently massage your muscles. You can also change your diet slightly. Focus on soft foods you can cut into small pieces, to lessen the movement of your jaw when eating. However, most patients use a night guard. Night guards, or splints, are meant to reposition the jaw to relieve TMJ pain. Since TMJ can be caused by bruxism or trauma to the jaw, a night guard can help relax it. They’re usually made of rigid acrylic material that covers all the teeth in the arch.
Some patients choose to use over-the-counter night guards. But for the best results, you should book an appointment with a dentist. Your dentist can make you a night guard custom-made for your individual jaw.
Concerned about your jaw pain? Find out more about our dental services by visiting our website or giving us a call today at 905-434-5500.