Does your jaw click when you open it? Can you hear an audible click? Do you frequently suffer from headaches? If so, the answer could lie with your jaw. A condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD or TMJ) can affect the movement of your jaw, causing pain or discomfort.
Although the symptoms can be mild, some people can have severe issues with the disorder, including complete jaw dysfunction as well as chronic pain. If you feel that you have TMJ, you should consider consulting your dentist. They can offer you treatment options that can minimize your symptoms or correct your jaw dysfunction.
What Is TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint is responsible for the hinging and sliding motion of your jaw. If you suffer from a dysfunction of this joint, it could involve the joint, cartilage, or muscles that control the movement of the jaw. When this occurs, it can become difficult for you to perform simple, everyday movements, such as eating or speaking.
There are several factors that contribute to the development of TMJ. For example, some people are born with bite problems or joint abnormalities that can cause TMJ. Bite problems are the misalignment of the teeth or jaw. If either of these is not balanced or aligned, it can cause pain or disrupt the movement of the jaw.
Additionally, some behaviors can cause TMJ to develop. A common way people develop TMJ is through teeth grinding or clenching their jaw. This motion puts excess stress on the jaw, which can influence the muscles. Over time, the muscles can fatigue or become sore, creating difficulty with the jaw. In addition, this can also create headaches through tension in the muscles of the face, jaw, and neck.
Why Should I Treat It?
Some cases of TMJ are relatively mild. You may experience some popping or clicking in the jaw joint. However, it is possible that you won’t feel any pain or discomfort. With mild cases, there is still a possibility that your condition can worsen without intervention. For example, the repetitive motion of opening and closing your jaw with a deformity can cause TMJ to get worse, making daily tasks uncomfortable or painful.
As TMJ worsens, you can experience other disruptions. For example, TMJ can cause frequent headaches. When there is tightness in your muscles, it can cause problems in other areas near your jaw. Patients with TMJ report pain in their faces, ears, neck, and head. A common issue with TMJ is chronic or frequent headaches due to muscle tension.
With advanced cases, you can even experience a “locking” of the joint. This means that it can be difficult or almost impossible to open or close your mouth without severe pain. When this happens, it is likely that you will need surgery to correct the issue.