Yup – you heard us right. We are officially diagnosing you with a TMJ, but it’s nothing to be concerned about! It’s a common misconception that TMJ means you are having jaw problems, when in actuality the ‘J’ only stands for joint. Everyone has joints in the their jaw! So you may be off the hook! it actually doesn’t become a problem until you are diagnosed with TMD which stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.
According to WebMD, your temporomandibular joint is a hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull, which are in front of each ear. It lets you move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, and yawn. Problems with your jaw and the muscles in your face that control it are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). But you may hear it wrongly called TMJ, after the joint.
Temporomandibular disorders can have many different signs and symptoms, from mild to severe. Some patients may have symptoms but are still able to function fully. TMDs appear to be more common in women.
Signs and Symptoms
• pain in or around the ear
• tender jaw muscles
• clicking or popping noises in the jaw
• difficulty opening or closing the mouth
• pain when yawning or chewing
• jaw joints that feel as if they are “locked,” “stuck” or they “go out”
Please contact us if you are experiencing any of those signs or symptoms and you fear you could be experiencing a problem. There are different reasons you may be feeling these symptoms and we are more than happy to assess your discomfort and refer you to a specialist if necessary. Some causes include stress, misalignment, arthritis or even grinding or clenching your teeth. Read more about grinding or bruxism on our blog: Grinding Your Teeth?