Do your jaws hurt even with slight movement? Is it difficult for you to put a word in not because people keep interrupting you but, rather, because it hurts to open your mouth. If your answers for these questions are yes, then you just might have temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD which is more commonly called TMJ. This condition affects the joint which connects the lower jaw to the unmoving skull bone through the temporal region. Because you need to move your jaws in order for you to talk or eat, then that means that slight movements can irritate the already aching jaw and cause you to be in pain.
Causes of TMJ
While dentists and other experts are not yet sure as to what the definitive cause of TMJ is, there are a number of factors which are said to induce the development of TMJ. Most of these factors are rooted on the jaw joint sustaining injury due to different reasons. For instance, teeth grinding can lead to TMJ because of the friction and stress that is exerted on your jaw joints whenever you gnash your teeth. Degenerative diseases which affect the other joints of the body can also lead to the TMJ just like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Dislocation of the disc joint can also lead to the condition.
Signs and Symptoms of TMJ
Pain and swelling are common among individuals who are suffering from the condition. Moreover, the pain could be so great that it does not only precipitate when you open your mouth but even when you aren’t making any movements. At the same time, TMJ could lead to your jaws locking in and you being unable to close your mouth anymore. It’s possible that only one part of your jaw joints would be affected which means that the swelling or the pain could be isolated to just one part of your face.
Treatment for TMJ
The treatment for TMJ involves primarily the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs to get rid of the pain while your doctor might prescribe you with necessary drugs should you have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. If you are suffering from bruxism, you can also be fitted by your doctor with a mouthguard or a nighttime splint to protect your joints from the effects of the grinding throughout the night. Finally, you can alternate the use of hot and cold packs in order to alleviate the pain.
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