Does Your Jaw Hurt?

Girl suffering from tooth pain and touching cheek while sitting on couch at home. Have you noticed lately that your jaw has been hurting? Have you been getting headaches? You may have TMJ, and your dentist may be able to help.

What is TMJ?

“TMJ” stands for the temporomandibular joint. This is the joint that connects your skull and your jawbone. However, “TMJ” is also a common, catch-all term for pain and disorders of the joint. You may develop TMJ because of an injury to the jaw, because of years of tooth grinding, or damage to the cartilage. It may be genetic, or it may be caused by arthritis.

This joint is in use constantly, and it can be quite painful when it is injured or damaged. A problem with the joint may result in more than just jaw pain: you might also have ear pain or a feeling of stuffiness in the ears; headaches; a popping or clicking sound when you open or close your jaw; and shoulder and neck aches.

How is TMJ treated?

There are some things you can try at home to find relief from the pain of TMJ. Ice, heat, or an over-the-counter pain reliever may help to reduce the pain. If you find your jaw tightening up when you are under stress, you may want to consider finding ways to reduce your stress. And, you can also ask your dentist for help.

Your TMJ may be caused by a dental issue such as missing teeth, which can cause your top and bottom teeth to be out of alignment. This adds stress to your jaw muscles and exacerbates the pain of TMJ. If you are missing teeth, your dentist may suggest dental implants. An implant consists of an anchor inserted into the jawbone, a post attached to the anchor, and an artificial tooth attached to the post. Replacing your missing tooth can help to realign your bite and reduce stress on the jaw, which can help your TMJ pain.

TMJ can be very painful, and if you have noticed pain in your jaw lately you should let your dentist know. Contact Pound Ridge Cosmetic Dentistry at 914-468-4759 for an appointment today!

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