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That Pain in Your Jaw May Be TMJ

Oral Surgeon, TMJ

Do you have pain in your jaw? Does your cheeks and jaw area swell? Does your jaw pop when you chew or talk? Do you realize that you may have TMJ?

What is TMJ? TMJ is referred to as Temporomandibular joint disease or disorders. What is your temporomandibular joint? It is the joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull. When it becomes worn down with age and use, or displaced many things can occur. You can start grinding your teeth, clinching your teeth and slowly pain will set into the area. This pain can be throbbing or aching. It can be associated with swelling and make you feel like you were actually hit in the face.

It is estimated that over ten million Americans suffer from TMJ. Of this number, about 90 percent of these people are women? Why? This answer isn’t so obvious. Some conclusions as to why women are more sensitive to developing this disease are: women are more prone to connective tissue disorders, women perceive pain differently than men, women notice the symptoms more and try to seek treatment for it.

Besides the obvious symptoms of pain in the jaw, other symptoms of TMJ can include: headaches, aches in the jaw area in the morning, a popping noise from the jaw when eating, muscle spasm in the jaw area and even a receding lower jaw.

What can be done if a person thinks he/she has TMJ? First, he/she should consult their regular dentist. This dentist may go ahead and have X-rays, CAT scan or MRI of the area ordered or may refer you to an oral surgeon. A physical exam will be taken also to see how wide you can open your mouth and to rule out an ear infection or sinusitis.

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How it TMJ treated?

TMJ can be treated in a number of ways. You may be prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen. You also may try physical therapy, massage, moist heat, ice and exercise to increase the range of motion of the joint.

If your TMJ is causing severe pain, your doctor may even suggest that you wear a night guard to help take some of the pressure off of your joint as you are sleeping. These night guards can be custom fitted or bought over the counter.

In severe cases, your doctor may suggest an injection of an anesthetic and fluid to help take down the inflammation surrounding the joint. In rare cases, surgery may have to be done.

Latest research also has shown that botox injections have helped in stopping some of the pain and muscle spasms of TMJ.

If you have TMJ or think you may, do not continue living in pain. Consult your dentist today and seek the best treatment options for yourself.

Note: The writer of the above article is not a physician. Therefore the article should not be considered medical advice. The article is not meant to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure any ailment. Always check with your physician before taking any products or following any advice you read online.