The Reason Your Jaw Hurts: A Look at TMJ Disorder

Perhaps it’s a just a twinge in your jaw muscles every now and then, such as when you’re eating or talking to someone. Or, perhaps you feel your jaw joints clicking and popping every time you open and close them, creating an uncomfortable, sometimes painful sensation. Whatever form your jaw discomfort takes, and no matter how severe it is, there’s likely an underlying cause for it. In many cases, that cause is TMJ disorder – a dysfunction in one or both of the joints that control your jaw’s movement.

What TMJs are responsible for

The acronym, TMJ, stands for temporomandibular joint. Your two TMJs are located on either side of your face, at the temporal region just below each ear. They connect your lower jaw, or mandible, to this temporal region, allowing it to open, close, and move about on the two joints. Your mouth is the most frequently used part of your body every day, and your TMJs are tasked with the facilitating all of the work it does. It may be no wonder, then, that when one or both joints are not functioning properly, the resulting aches, pains, and discomfort can be intense and affect a wide range of areas of your oral health.

When one or more can’t function right

TMJ disorder comes in a variety of forms, but it generally describes some form of dysfunction in one or both of your jaw joints. For example, the joint may have become damaged, or the tissues have become inflamed, making it difficult to move comfortably. The joint may be misaligned, or be forced to work overtime due to an imbalance in your bite. In most cases, the damage and dysfunction not only make it difficult for your bite to function properly, but is also the source of the wide range of pains associated with TMJ disorder.

Is there a way to relieve the pain?

The good news is that, once you know TMJ disorder is the cause of your chronic jaw pain, finding lasting from it will be much easier. After a comprehensive diagnosis to gauge the cause and extent of your TMJ disorder, your dentist can recommend an appropriate treatment plan to help your jaw joints heal and improve your bite function. While appropriate treatment may differ from patient to patient, many can find relief with the help of a custom-designed oral appliance, which is designed to offer comfortable support for your TMJs while you sleep every night.

Find a custom solution for your jaw pain

When it’s a sign of TMJ disorder, your chronic jaw pain might not be the only thing trying to warn you of it. To learn more about treating jaw pain and TMJ disorder, schedule an appointment with Dr. Smith and our team by calling Pecan Tree Dental in Grand Prairie, TX, today at (972) 262-5111.