It’s estimated that 35 million Americans suffer from Temporamandibular Joint Disorder, commonly known as TMJ. If you’re one of them, you know how it affects your life. One big factor in many TMJ sufferers is stress, which often ramps up during the holidays.
The TM joints are the hinges on either side of your jaws that allow your mouth to open and close. When those joints don’t work, a common cause is TMJ. While some TMJ is caused by chronic conditions, like arthritis, many cases are related to everyday clenching and grinding of the teeth and jaws. The constant wear on the muscles and ligaments in the TM joint causes inflammation and many times causes TMJ issues. This can lead to symptoms that go beyond the mouth; chronic headaches, migraines, neck pain and earaches are a few. These symptoms often show up at the worst times and all of them are unwelcome!
You can treat TMJ by eating soft foods, using relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga, or placing heat packs on the jaw muscles. You can also use mouth guard devices to eliminate teeth clenching and grinding. One such device that Dr. Dunlap has recently developed is Lief, a small nighttime mouth guard. Wearing Lief while you're sleeping lets your facial muscles relax, relieving pressure points in your mouth. So if you’re suffering from headaches, migraines, jaw clicking and popping and earaches, TMJ may be to blame. Don't go around hurting! Come see us, we can help diagnose your trouble and recommend treatment.