Do you feel like you’ve just chewed a ball of toffee even though it was just a ham sandwich? Your temporomandibular joints, or TMJ, might be out of whack. These are the joints and jaw muscles that enable your mouth to open and close. You use them whenever you chew, speak, or swallow. When something happens to prevent this complex system from working properly, a TMJ disorder may be present.
TMJ disorders have a wide variety of causes, including arthritis, injury, and tooth alignment or grinding. However, many people clench their teeth habitually and never develop symptoms. Symptoms can include pain, difficulty chewing, or even locking of the joint, and can cause a clicking or grating sound.
Symptoms can often be managed with lifestyle changes, such as eating softer food and avoiding chewing gum and nail biting. Application of heat packs and practicing relaxation techniques that release jaw tension can also be helpful. Strengthening exercises, muscle relaxants, or even anti-anxiety medication may also be advised. At East Texas Dental, we provide custom bite guards that help provide relief for more serious symptoms. This is a fitted device that is inserted over the teeth that reduces clenching during sleep. If these procedures do not help, orthodontic treatment may be necessary.
If you are experiencing symptoms of a TMJ-related disorder, try the simple lifestyle changes listed above. If symptoms persist, please give us a call at 903-509-0505 to schedule a consultation.