The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. TMD or temporomandibular joint disorders can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement.
The exact cause of a person’s TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine. Your pain may be due to a combination of problems, such as arthritis or jaw injury. Some people who have jaw pain also tend to clench or grind their teeth, but many people habitually clench their teeth and never develop TMJ
Signs and symptoms of TMJ | TMD may include:
- Pain or tenderness of your jaw
- Aching pain in and around your ear
- Difficulty chewing or discomfort while chewing
- Aching facial pain
- Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
- A clicking sound when you open your mouth or chew.
Treatment TMJ | TMD
A dental appliance such as a mouth guard or splint can help reduce the symptoms of TMJ | TMD. This appliance may also help improve your bite and the ability for the lower jaw to fall properly into the temporomandibular joint socket.
Clenching & Grinding (Bruxism)
Thousands of people suffer from headaches and jaw pain on a daily basis. They often seek treatment from a physician, headache clinics, or chiropractors. Many are on multiple medications trying to control their pains and headaches. Most individuals do not realize that their bite and jaw muscles may play an important role in their problems. Clenching and grinding of the teeth may lead to sore, tired jaw muscles. It is these sore muscles that may cause, or contribute to their jaw pains and headaches. Bruxism is a condition in which you clench or grind your teeth. You may unconsciously clench your teeth together during the day, or clench and grind them during sleep .
Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?
Although teeth grinding can be caused by stress and anxeity, it often occurs during sleep and is more likely caused by an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth. It can also be caused by a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea.
How Do I Know if I Grind My Teeth?
Because grinding often occurs during sleep, most people are unaware that they grind their teeth. However, a dull, constant headache or sore jaw when you wake up can sometimes be an indication of bruxism. Many times people learn that they grind their teeth by their loved one who hears the grinding at night.
Why Is Teeth Grinding Harmful?
In some cases, chronic teeth grinding can result in a fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. The chronic grinding can wear teeth down to stumps.
Not only can severe grinding damage teeth and result in tooth loss, it can also affect your jaws, cause or worsen TMJ.