You know you should see your dentist if your tooth gives you problems, or if you want to improve your smile, but did you know that your dentist may also be able to help treat soreness and pain in your jaw and face?
Your temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, are the large joints in front of each ear that connect your lower jaw (mandible) to your skull. They help your jaw move in the many directions necessary to perform its duties, but undue pressure and a variety of dental issues can damage these joints and the muscles around them, causing TMJ disorder. To help you determine if your jaw or facial discomfort might be TMJ disorder, we offer a short quiz about your symptoms and condition.
Do You Have TMJ Dysfunction?
Do you habitually grind or clench your teeth, even at times when you’re not upset or stressed?
This habit, called bruxism, often occurs at night, and patients may not even be aware of their condition. The repetitive action of grinding and clenching can place excessive amounts of stress on your jaw’s joints and muscles, and is a common cause of TMJ dysfunction.
Have you recently suffered a traumatic injury to your face or jaw area?
A dislocated TMJ can also cause extreme discomfort. If you’ve recently suffered an impact to your face or jaw area, then visit your dentist as soon as possible to determine if one or both of your jaw joints have been damaged.
Have you been under an unusual amount of stress lately?
Stress is a common cause of bruxism and TMJ disorder, and can also lead to a host of other dental problems (i.e., excessively worn teeth, bad dietary habits, and lax dental hygiene, to name a few). Practicing stress relief techniques, such as physical activity or an engaging hobby, can help save your dental health and relieve your discomfort.