WHAT IS TMJ?

TMJ is short for Temporomandibular joint
(tem-puh-roe-man-dib-u-lur).

Your TMJ is a jaw joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull. You have two TMJs; one on each side, located in front of your ears. You use your TMJ when you open and close your mouth, and move your lower jaw left, right, forward, and back.

You also have a soft cartilage disk that acts as a cushion between the bones in your Temporomandibular joints (TMJs). The cartilage disk helps your joint move smoothly, slide from side to side and open and close. If the cartilage disk in your TMJ (jaw joint) moves out of place or becomes damaged, you will experience TMJ pain.

TMJ

In many cases, jaw joint pain is caused by a combination of factors.

The most common causes of TMJ pain are:

• Arthritis
• Chewing gum
• Genetics
• Jaw injury
• Jaw misalignment
• Poor posture
• Teeth clenching
• Teeth grinding
• Stress

Jana Henderson

TMJ Fact:

Children can also experience moderate to severe pain and problems with their jaw. You can learn about our pediatric TMJ services here: Pediatric TMJ.

Signs and symptoms of TMJ

Common pain areas can be felt in your head, eyes, ears, jaw, mouth, teeth, and throat. Jaw pain, difficulty chewing, and clicking and locking of the jaw joint are some of the most common symptoms reported. Read the complete list of TMD signs and symptoms here.

How can you tell if you have TMJ issues?

Step 1:

Open your mouth slightly. Relax your face and breathe through your mouth.

Step 2:

Place your finger over your TMJ that is located on your upper jaw right next to the hole in your ear where you would insert a Q-Tip.

Step 3:

With your finger on your jaw joint, open your mouth as wide as you can.

Results:

If you feel or hear a click, crack, or pop, or if it is painful to touch your TMJ while opening your mouth wide, you may have TMJ issues.

Natural remedies for TMJ pain

Natural remedies for TMJ pain relief include applying ice to the area that hurts, stretching and relaxing your jaw muscles, doing jaw movement exercises, and getting a TMJ massage. If the pain in your TMJ is persistent and does not get better with at-home treatments, your dentist or doctor should order a CT scan to see if you have “TMJ Syndrome” or “TMD” (temporomandibular disorder). Even after diagnosis, natural remedies are still recommended. You can also read about how posture correction exercises help with TMJ symptoms here.

TMJ Tip:

Clenching your jaw while stressed or angry can cause TMJ issues. Whenever you get stressed or angry, try to relax your jaw, neck, shoulders, and mind as soon as possible.

Can you die from TMJ or TMD?

One of the most pressing questions people ask Google about TMJ is “Will I die from TMJ?” The answer is no, TMJ is not a cause of death. Neither is TMD (temporomandibular disorder). However, if the pain in your jaw is so bad that you cannot eat, drink, or sleep, you need to contact your doctor or dentist immediately.

Common TMJ treatments

To accurately diagnose TMJ/TMD, you need to have a CT scan on your jaw. If your CT scan shows that you have TMJ issues, your doctor may recommend anti-inflammatories, over the counter pain relievers, and muscle relaxants to help you manage your pain. Night guards and surgery are also an option, although surgery is less common and only used in the most severe cases of TMD.

Did you know that a TMJ Massage can help you get pain relief?

Do you clench or grind your teeth when you sleep? Does your jaw click or pop? Are you looking for a long-term solution to TMJ issues or jaw pain? In addition to teaching you different relaxation techniques, our TMJ Specialist, Jana can help you get same-day relief from TMJ symptoms in one session! If you are in the Richmond area, you can schedule your first TMJ session with Jana today!

This article should be used for educational purposes only (not advice, diagnosis, or treatment).

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