What Causes TMJ Dysfunction and What Exactly Is It?

Are you experiencing pain around your jaw, but your teeth feel fine? You may be suffering from a condition known as TMJ dysfunction. The pain you are experiencing could be coming from your temporomandibular (TMJ) joints.

These are large joints in front of the ear connecting the skull and the lower jaw bone. It is these joints that allow your jaw to move in multiple directions while chewing or talking. Both pressure and dental issues can be a cause of TMJ dysfunction.

How do you know if this is the cause of your pain? Ask yourself a few of the following questions.

Do You Grind or Clench Your Teeth?

Some people who have this issue don’t even realize it. That’s because people who tend to grind or clench their teeth usually do it at night when they are asleep and unaware it is happening. If you are suddenly experiencing jaw pain, it may be a result of stress being put on your TMJ joints while you sleep.

Are You More Stressed Out?

During periods of increased stress in your life, you may wind up putting added pressure on your TMJ joints. Additional stress can impact your dental health in many ways, from excessively grinding teeth, to eating an unhealthy diet or slacking on basic dental hygiene.

Recent Trauma

If you’ve sustained a recent impact to your face or jaw, this may be the cause of your TMJ dysfunction.

How is TMJ Treated?

TMJ dysfunction treatments are recommended by both dentists and doctors. Surgery is only recommended as an absolute last option, when every other method has failed. Some common and less risky treatments include:

  • Bite Guards. People who suffer from jaw pain often benefit greatly from using a bite guard, which is also known as an oral splint. A guard that is professionally fitted by a dentist will yield the best results.
  • Muscle Relaxants. A doctor or dentist may prescribe this to use for a number of days or weeks to relieve pain from a clenched jaw.
  • Nighttime sedatives may be prescribed if clenching of the teeth or grinding is taking place while you sleep.

See a Skilled Dentist

If you want to learn more about what might be causing jaw pain in your circumstances, feel free to contact Dental Studio 101 at 480-488-4852. We can help determine what treatments might be effective.