Jaw Pain & Clicking
What is TMJ Dysfunction?
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (also known as TMJ or Jaw Dysfunction) is a common ailment afflicting millions of people and can be brought on by trauma. Trauma can occur from years of micro trauma from poorly matching teeth or a sudden trauma such as a Car Accident or Sports Injury! It can also become damaged from eating hard foods, being rapidly forced open in a rear-impact car crash, or sleeping wrong with lateral pressure on the jaw. Even if the jaw is not struck, you may experience symptoms of pain, clicking, popping, or locking during opening and closing. Someone experiencing these symptoms should schedule an appointment with us to be checked. TMJ related headaches are also very common.
BACK to Health Clinic doctors have advanced training & certification through the Spine Research Institute for the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ disorders. Trust us to help you with your jaw-related pain or discomfort.
How the Jaw Works.
The jaw is the most complex and neurologically sensitive joint of the body. It is actually two joints (one jaw joint on the left and one on the right) that pivots during the first few degrees of opening then glides forward like a drawer to open wide (carrying a disc with it), and each side must work simultaneous and in perfect symmetry with each other to operate properly. If there is unequal joint surface alignment, muscle tension, torn or stretched ligaments, displaced disc, or injuries to the jaw, there will be binding, popping and pain.
There is a pair of muscles on each side (the medial and lateral pterygoids) that acts as a sling to hold the suspended jaw up into its shallow socket. They must work in tandem for the jaw to glide open and close properly. When chewing, the massively powerful temporalis and masseter muscles exert more pressure in pounds-per-square-inch of force than any other muscles of the human body. Improperly functioning joints do not do well under pressure, and usually will worsen if not managed.
What Should I do if I have TMJ Symptoms?
A clicking jaw may be painless, but it is not normal, and it will often become painful and degenerative with time if ignored. If there is perceived a problem with those joints, correcting it quickly is important to prevent progressive wear & tear or permanency.
Never chew gum or hard foods if you are experiencing jaw-related pain, and contact our office immediately for an appointment. Our clinic works in tandem with other TMJ dental professionals for managing tooth occlusion issues if necessary. Whether we can help you directly or refer you for treatment, either way you’re going to get the help you need!