Imagine a swing set on a playground: the swing is your lower jaw, and the connection between the cables and the swing frame is your TMJ. Your lower jaw swings back and forth like a swing set when you open and close your mouth. Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the joints connecting your jaw to your skull. Many people suffer from a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), which is often referred to more commonly as TMJ. Only if we could apply some WD-40 to these joints! But no, please do not try this at home.
TMJ syndrome, or TMD, is typically caused by injury or inflammation of the joint. If injured or inflamed, there can be pain with chewing, along with clicking or popping of the jaw, swelling on the sides of the face, inflammation of the nerves, headaches, locked jaws, and even dislocation of the joint.
There are several indicators for increased risk of TMD. Stress typically increases tension of the muscles, as well as clenching of the jaws. Previous jaw trauma increases the risk of TMD, as well as chronic inflammatory arthritis. Poor posture can sometimes lead to neck strain and abnormalities in jaw muscle function. Women ages 18-44 have an increased risk of TMD.
What causes TMJ syndrome?
There are many factors that could contribute to TMD, including:
What are TMD signs and symptoms?
The main symptom associated with TMD is pain at the joint. This pain is usually located in front of the ear, but it can also radiate to the neck, eyes, or forehead. Additional symptoms may include:
What is the treatment for TMD? Are there any home remedies that provide pain relief?
Many symptoms of TMJ disorders respond well to home remedies or stress reduction and relaxation techniques. The following home remedies may provide some relief:
Your orthodontist can also help you find relief from TMD using one of the following options: