Does Chewing Hurt Your Jaw? 3 Telltale Signs You Have TMJ

Does Chewing Hurt Your Jaw? 3 Telltale Signs You Have TMJ

The lower jaw (mandible) is connected to the skull by the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The TMJ is a hinge joint that allows the mouth to open and shut and the mandible to move from side to side. Like any joint in the body, the TMJ is subject to wear-and-tear from constant movement, trauma, joint degeneration, and abnormalities.

TMJ (also known as TMJ disorders or TMJD) affects an estimated ten million people in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  

At the Center for Implant & Esthetic Dentistry, our prosthodontist Dr. Ramin Mahallati offers treatment for TMJ disorders at our office in Beverly Hills, California.

3 telltale signs you have TMJ

Here are three of the most common signs and symptoms that you might have TMJ disorder:

1. Pain

Pain and stiffness in your jaw is the most common sign that you may be experiencing TMJ disorder. Some people with TMJ also experience pain around the ears and neck. TMJ can also make chewing painful and uncomfortable.

2. Clicking and popping sound in your jaw

A “clicking” sound or popping sensation when you move your jaw is a sign of TMJ.

3. Jaw locking 

You might have TMJ if the joint locks, making it difficult or painful to open and close your mouth. 

Occasional jaw pain or soreness that resolves on its own after a day or two may not be related to TMJ. For example, if you grind your teeth in your sleep, temporary jaw pain is common. 

However, if you’re experiencing one or more TMJ disorder symptoms lasting more than a few days, don’t wait to get help. Schedule an appointment for a dental exam as soon as possible. 

Ignoring TMJ pain and symptoms can increase the risk of permanent damage to the joint. If you’re unsure about your symptoms, give us a call and a member of our team can help you determine whether you need to schedule an appointment.

How is TMJ treated?

TMJ disorder can usually be managed with non-invasive and non-surgical treatments, like self-care, medication, physical therapy, and appliances, to help stabilize the joint. 

Occlusal guards are custom-designed from a mold of your teeth to ensure a perfect fit. The appliance keeps your upper and lower jaw in alignment to stabilize the temporomandibular joint and ease your symptoms. Occlusal guards are typically worn at night while you sleep, but they may also be worn during the day if needed.

Your TMJ treatment will depend on the severity of your symptoms, the condition of your joints, and underlying dental and health issues.

For more information about TMJ symptoms and treatment, contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mahallati in Beverly Hills.

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