You may have heard about a pain in the neck. You also might have heard about a pain in your head? However, pain in your jaw? Unless someone hits you, how much pain in your jaw can you have? It turns out, you can have a lot. It is estimated that nearly 10 million people suffer from disorders of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). These disorders are called temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). Those are big words, but the pain, inflammation, and swelling that can be present in your jaw joint are real. If you have never heard of TMD, but you have a lot of jaw pain, keep reading. Let BayView Dental give you more information about what can make your jaw joint hurt, and how we can help make it better.
The temporomandibular joint is essential. It is the part of your bone structure that allows your mouth to open and close. Like your hip, your TMJ is a ball and socket design. That design allows you to open and close your mouth with ease, as well as speak and chew your food. You can move your jaw joint without pain because of a thin disc of fibers in the join. However, if that fibrous disc gets inflamed, it can swell. This makes it painful to move your jaw around.
What is TMD?
If you have problems with your jaw joints, you may find opening your mouth painful. Some people with TMD find the opening and closing of their mouths very painful. You might also feel pain in your ears when you try to use your jaw. Does your head hurt? Do you have neck pain? You might also have sore jaws or pain in the muscles of your neck. Many people with TMD report they have jaw pain when they chew food or bite down. Some people also have pain when they yawn. You might also experience popping, snapping, or clicking noises when you chew.
How Do You Get TMD?
No one knows how you get TMD. It is more common in women than in men. It is also more common in people who have had arthritis. You may get TMD after an injury to your jaw, such as if you dislocate your jaw during a sporting event. TMD is also more common in people who clench or grind their teeth at night.
How Do You Treat It?
We can treat TMD in several ways. We might give you anti-inflammatory medication to take. This medication is meant to reduce the swelling in your jaw joint. If you clench or grind your teeth, we might suggest you wear a nightguard to protect your teeth and reduce inflammation. Many people who have TMD are also anxious. Sometimes, medication to help symptoms of anxiety will also help with TMD.
Are you having trouble with your jaw joint? We can help. Give BayView Dental a call at one of our 7 convenient locations. Let us talk to you about what we can do to help relieve your jaw pain.