TMJ – Temporomandibular  Joint Dysfunction

What is TMJ?

The joint between your upper and lower jaws, just in front of your ears, is called the temporomandibular joint (‘TMJ for short). A fibrous disc separates the upper and lower bone surfaces. The jaw joints can occasionally cause problems, which our dentists here at Stourcote Dental Practice in Stourbridge can help diagnose.

What Are the Symptoms of TMJ?

  • Clicking or grating noises when you move your jaw. Difficulty opening or closing your mouth.
  • Swelling or tenderness over the joint.
  • Pain in the face, neck and chewing muscles (some people also have pain in the shoulders and/or back)
  • Headaches or migraines, especially first thing in the morning.
  • Pain in your ear, possibly with ringing noises
  • Clicking or grating noises are usually down to the cartilage jumping when you open your mouth.

If you have any of these symptoms we would strongly advise you to book an appointment to see our Stourbridge Dentists as soon as you are able.

What can Cause TMJ Problems

Jaw joint pain is usually the result of increased tension in the jaw muscles. This can often be aggravated by

Grinding or clenching your teeth, in your sleep or during the day. Habits such as biting your nails or chewing a pen. These are often related to fatigue, stress and anxiety. Painkillers can relieve symptoms in the short term.

How can TMJ problems be addressed or the severity reduced?
  • Cutting up food into small pieces.
  • Avoiding very chewy foods.
  • Avoiding very hard foods.
  • Trying not to open your mouth too wide – for example, when you yawn.

Possible solutions for TMJ problems

Using relaxation and stress-relieving techniques. Giving up habits that aggravate the condition. Wearing a bite guard at night, to stop you from grinding your teeth in your sleep Some people may be experiencing jaw joint problems due to the way their teeth or dentures meet when they bite. This can be resolved by adjusting the position or shape of some teeth, by replacing missing teeth with dentures or implants, or by making a new denture, as necessary.

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