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Are You the Cause of Your TMJ Pain?


Posted on 3/17/2017 by Doctor Haigney
An elderly woman suffering from severe tmj.
Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is an important feature of your body. This joint is located in your mouth, and is the point at which your upper and lower jaws meet.

It is the feature that allows you to open and close your mouth and move your lower jaw from side to side. It allows you to eat and speak with ease. Pain in this area can greatly impact your life.

Temporomandibular Disorder

Pain in your jaw, as well as the hinge at which your jaws meet, is known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD). This pain affects your ability to eat, speak and even simply open your mouth at all.

Symptoms include:

•  Facial pain.
•  Difficulty opening your mouth.
•  Pain while eating.
•  Clicking/popping while chewing.
•  Jaw locks open or closed.
•  Headaches/Earaches.

There are multiple causes of TMD. Some causes happen naturally, because your bite is off or perhaps you are suffering from osteoarthritis. TMD can also be the result of facial trauma. However, in some instances, you may be the cause of your TMJ pain.

Stress
When you are experiencing stress, your muscles tend to tense. This includes the muscles in your jaw. Stiffening the muscles in your jaw can lead to clenching, and even grinding your teeth, a condition known as bruxism, exerts a lot of unnecessary force on the joint.

While occasional bruxism doesn't usually cause any harm, doing it every night, which is when bruxism frequently happens, is what leads to severe pain. Managing your stress levels can help alleviate bruxism, as can a nighttime mouth guard.

Overuse
Excessive and unnecessary chewing, such as chewing gum, can wear out your jaw. So, too, can taking large bites of oversized foods. If you already have TMD, these actions can aggravate symptoms. Avoiding chewing gum and cutting food into more manageable pieces is advised.

Poor Posture
Having bad posture can affect more than your spine. It can also take your jaw out of proper alignment. Over time, the joint becomes inflamed, and can lead to TMD symptoms.

If you are experiencing jaw pain, it is important that you contact our office. Sometimes a simple lifestyle change can be enough to ease TMD symptoms.

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Lake Norman Oral and Facial Surgery
DR. RAYMOND J. HAIGNEY II

9727 Northcross Center Ct
Huntersville, NC 28078
CALL US AT (704) 255-5888
info@lakenormanofs.com
FAX (704) 987-3709
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