TMJ: A Mouthful of a Health Risk

Temporomandibular Joint DisorderTemporomandibular Joint is the apex of where your lower jawbone and your skull meet on each side of your head. Saying “Temporomandibular Joint Disorder” can be a mouthful, but with you actually having it, chances are, you will not even be able to say it. Some of the symptoms are as follows: jaw or bite pain, difficulties in opening and closing the mouth, earaches and ear pressure, and pain radiating to the neck and shoulders.

Causes of TMJ

There’s pain, characterized by aching and stiffness coming from one or both sides of your jaw. It could also be the inability of the jaw to function well, locking or making sounds such as popping or clicking in and out of place when you open or close your mouth.

One of the causes of TMJ can be trauma and this is classified into two: microtrauma (grinding or clenching of teeth) and macrotrauma (an impact to the jaw caused by a punch or an accident; can cause dislocation and damage to the disc joint). Another cause of the pain is the prolonged length of time that the mouth is open for dental procedures.

Another cause of TMJ is arthritis. This causes the inflammation in the joints and usually affects children. If neglected, it can erode the bone and destruct the cartilage surrounding the joint.

Osteoarthritis is another cause of TMJ. This is the degeneration of or the aging of the joint. It becomes rampant with the increased incidents of microtraumas and macrotraumas.

Symptoms of TMJ

Some of the signs to let you know that you have TMJ are as follows: experiencing pain in your jaw or when biting or chewing, hearing pain or an incessant ringing in your ears or tinnitus. Another sign could be the swelling of the affected side as well as the locking of the jaw, difficulty in opening and chewing food, and the dislocation of the jaw by deviating to one side when opened.

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Even the simplest form of muscle fatigue, such as grinding or clenching your teeth, can cause something as bad as TMJ. Do be careful of these things and be hyperaware so that you can have it checked early on and prevent something as bad as TMJ from happening.