The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is very important and complex sliding hinge joint that connects your jaw to your skull. It makes opening and closing your jaw possible, and you kinda need it in order to eat, speak or to make facial expressions. You see, TMJ is a joint that we don’t pay much attention to until it becomes a problem. Some of us are genetically predisposed to have a TMJ problem, and some of us create the said problem by doing certain things that wear the joint out. If you have a problem with TMJ, no worries – keep reading for some TMJ facts and causes that are going to help you better understand what causes the discomfort and what you can do about it. There are many TMJ treatments you can try. However, the first step would be changing your habits. Because, let’s be honest – with a TMJ problem Ace Ventura wouldn’t be able to make those facial expressions, and it would be a completely different movie.
Facts and Causes:
- TMJ is a misalignment of jaw, neck and supporting structures;
- 1 in 8 Americans is affected by TMJ;
- It’s 4 times more common in women than in men;
- Apart from head, neck and jaw misalignment, the causes can be genetic, due to grinding and clenching of teeth known as bruxism, trauma, stress, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and Arthritis.
- Jaw popping or locking;
- Pain around your ear, cheek and jaw area;
- Experiencing pain or difficulty while chewing;
- Headache and dizziness;
- Facial swelling;
- Neck and upper back pain or spasm.
- Schedule a consultation with your doctor;
- Physical therapy or TMJ relief exercise;
- Botox injections;
- Wear a night guard to prevent grinding;
- Eat soft food, try chewing with both sides of your mouth;
- Steer clear of gum chewing;
- Don’t bite your nails and cheeks;
- Try to manage your stress – there is a tendency to clench the jaw in stressful situations;
- Don’t open your mouth wide while yawning or singing;
- If the symptoms worsen, then surgery might be needed in very rare cases.