What is TMJ? TMJ is how people commonly refer to temporomandibular joint disorders, or pain generating from jaw joint issues.
You have two temporomandibular joints, which connect your lower jaw to your skull. These joints are located by your ears. TMJ disorders are problems that can to these joints. TMJ disorders also include problems in those two regions of your face, such as nearby muscles, ligament, teeth and nerves.
In some cases, stress can lead to TMJ. One of the ways that people react to stress is to clench or grind their teeth together. You can do this not only during the day when you are awake, you can clench or grind your teeth when you are sleeping. This clenching and grinding increases the pressure on your jaw, your teeth and surrounding tissues, including the muscles in the area.
Today's technology can also cause TMJ. Poor posture when using the computer for long periods of time can result in neck and face muscle strain.
There are also physical causes of TMJ. For example, arthritis can damage the temporomandibular joint's cartilage or the joint's disc can erode. In addition, a strong blow to that facial area can result in TMJ. In some instances, people are born with structural problems that lead to TMJ.
Unfortunately, sometimes physicians can't determine the causes of TMJ.
Symptoms of TMJ
You may end up with TMJ headaches or may have a jaw that aches. Your ears may hurt or it might be difficult to chew your food. It could also be hard to open or close your mouth. You may think that you have problems with your teeth because you feel like you have a toothache.
How to Deal with TMJ
See your doctor if you have persistent symptoms that lead you to believe that you might have TMJ.
Your physician may prescribe medication or suggest that you use a bite guard at night when you are sleeping. You might have to get your dentist to work on your teeth. In extreme cases, your physician may suggest surgery.