This joint is formed where your lower jaw bone is connected to the temporal bone of your skull. It is covered with a thin layer of cartilage and separated by a small disc. This joint is almost constantly in use as you eat, speak, yawn and swallow. Typically, pain is experienced in this joint due to wear and tear; stress that expresses itself in grinding or clenching the teeth; misalignment of the upper and lower jaws; and, sometimes, arthritis.
What Are the Symptoms?
• Ear pain
• Pain in front of the ear
• Tenderness or pain in the jaw muscles
• Temple & cheek pain
• Jaw popping or clicking
• Frequent headaches
What causes of TMJ problems?
TMJ pain is often caused by wear and tear, or the overuse, of the joint due to stress, anxiety and tension. These stressful feelings cause many people to clench their jaws or grind their teeth, putting extra strain on the joint and muscles surrounding the joint. Another cause of pain is misalignment of the upper and lower jaws that can occur naturally or as the result of an injury. Improperly aligned jaws cause an uneven bite, producing additional wear and tear on one joint or the other. Many people that had braces as a child now have TMJ problems due to and uneven bite. In addition, since the TMJ is a joint like all other joints in our bodies, it can also suffer the effects of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other forms of joint inflammation.
The first, and most obvious, I will ask you to do is to reduce the amount of stress on the joints, either by finding ways to relax (and stop grinding or clenching your teeth) or to stop chewing gum and other tough foods. In many cases, some additional measures may be taken. TMJ problems have become more prevalent in the last decade due to higher levels of stress. If you have been struggling with this type of pain and have been looking for someone to help you eliminate it, give me a call. I have treated many people that live in the Cincinnati area that have suffered with TMJ pain.