Technically, Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the part of your mouth that acts as a hinge to connect your jaws to your temporal bones. Through the help of your TMJ, you can freely move your jaw sideways and up and down. Thus, this is the one responsible whenever you chew, talk, yawn and anything you do with your mouth.
What are the Causes?
It only goes to say that any problem or issue with this particular part can greatly affect your speech, eating and all other habits which require the use of your mouth. This is most commonly known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). To further understand what TMD is, here are some of its most common causes:
- Teeth clenching or grinding because it pushes a lot of pressure on your TMJ
- Sudden Movement of soft disc or cushion on the ball and socket of your jaw
- Inflammation of joint or arthritis
- Tightening of jaw and facial muscles which are usually caused by stress
Identifying the Symptoms
When not treated immediately, TMD brings severe pain and discomfort which can last temporarily or for years. Apart from that, it is very likely to affect both sides of your face. To find out whether you’ve already developed TMD, here are some of the most common symptoms:
- Soreness or pain in your jaw, face, shoulders and neck area whenever you talk chew or eat
- Troubles in opening your mouth wide
- If your jaws get stuck or lock in an open or closed mouth position
- Any clicking, grating or popping sound whenever you open and close your mouth or every time you talk or chew (it can be painful, but oftentimes it isn’t)
- Feeling of tiredness and swelling on the side of your face
Other symptoms may also include:
- Hearing Problems
- Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears)
As soon as you feel any of the following, be sure to consult TMJ doctor as soon as you feel there’s something wrong with your jaw. Always remember that prevention is always better than cure, so you better visit your dentist regularly.