Another headache? That’s the third day in a row, and the fourth day in the past week that you’ve had a headache when you woke up.
You take some ibuprofen and hop in the shower. As you are getting dressed, you decide that you’ll get a bagel sandwich for breakfast.
When you get your morning meal (and your morning coffee), you decide to eat on the way to work. You take a bite. With every chew, your jaw seems to hurt more and more. You give up on the bagel and decide to stick with the coffee instead.
If you’ve experienced something like what we described above, then you could have a TMJ disorder. If so, then our team at Orthodontic Affiliates wants to help. You can call (888) 722-5033 or contact us online to request an appointment at any of our Indiana locations.
Let’s start by defining TMJ. TMJ is a shorter way of referring to a temporomandibular joint. You have two of these ball-and-socket joints, which allow you to open and close your mouth. This is where your lower jaw (or mandible) connects to your skull.
TMJ disorders occur when something affects the jaw or the muscles around it, making it difficult or painful to open and close your mouth. TMJ disorders can develop as a result of alignment problems with your teeth, teeth grinding, arthritis, illnesses, injuries, or a combination of factors.
Just as TMJ disorders can have multiple causes, they also can cause a variety of symptoms. You may experience one or more of the following symptoms if you have an untreated TMJ problem.
▸ Jaw pain
Jaw pain can manifest in a few different ways. For instance, you may have a general soreness in your jaw or your facial muscles that seems to linger with you.
Jaw pain also can get worse with certain actions. A great example is eating. It’s common for people with TMJ problems to feel sore after eating foods that require more chewing. Even talking for a long time (such as giving a presentation) can leave your face hurting.
▸ Limited jaw mobility
Even if your jaw doesn’t hurt, you may find that you have trouble opening or closing your jaw. In some cases, you may find that your jaw’s range of motion is limited. Your jaw could even feel like it’s stuck temporarily.
▸ Headaches or earaches
Since headaches and earaches can occur for any number of reasons, you may not associate this pain with your jaw at first. If the problems occur frequently, however, you may have better luck talking to one of our doctors at Orthodontic Affiliates instead of taking more aspirin.
▸ Clicking or popping sounds
Another clue that you could have a TMJ problem is a clicking sound when you open and close your jaw. These sounds could be the result an alignment issue, which we could help correct.
If you suspect that your might have a TMJ issue, then our orthodontists would like to talk to you and take a look at your teeth and jaw. There are few ways we may be able to help. The first steps might be as simple as eating softer foods, applying heat, or massaging the muscles around the jaw.
If the problem persists, we may look into orthodontic treatments, such as Invisalign® or braces, if the alignment of your teeth appears to be a factor in your condition. If you are grinding your teeth (which many people do in their sleep), then an oral appliance could prevent grinding and help relax your jaw.
To learn more, schedule a consultation at any of our convenient Indiana offices. Call (888) 722-5033 or contact us online to request an appointment.
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