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Looking Into TMJ Pain

Posted Sep 21 2011 8:10am

You might have heard about people suffering from intense pain in their lower jaw. These people might be suffering from TMJ, just like many other Americans. TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint disorder, a medical condition wherein the patient suffers from pain in the said joint. However, there is more to TMJ than jaw pain.

TMJ disorder is often treated or attended to by dentists because the disorder affects the lower jaw. It is often presumed that the pain originates from the very same spot that it affects but in other times, pain is caused by some other factors. Other medical conditions can cause TMJ pain, including disorders in the thoracic area and shoulders. Physical stress can also cause pain around the area of the joint, including the muscles of the jaw, face, and neck, cartilage disk at the joint, teeth, and nearby ligaments, blood vessels, as well as nerves. There are also cases wherein the cause of the jaw pain remains unknown or yet to be proven. The yet to be proven causes include stress and tooth grinding, orthodontic braces, and bad bite.

In the case of tooth grinding, there are many patients who suffer from pain in their lower jaw who do not grind their teeth. There are also those who have been known to grind their teeth for a long time but they show no signs of problems in their TMJ. Stress is another supposed cause of TMJ pain that is more of a result. Those who suffer from lower jaw pain would typically associate the stress they feel as an effect of the medical condition versus its being the root of the pain.

Some of the most common symptoms of jaw pain that have been observed in most patients include difficulty or discomfort in biting or chewing, popping or clicking or grating sound when the mouth is opened or closed, dull and aching pain in the face, headache, earache, reduced ability to open or close the mouth, and tenderness of the jaw.

To help medical professionals determine if a patient is indeed suffering from a TMJ disorder, a patient may be required to undergo some medical tests or examinations. These include feeling the joint and connected muscles for tenderness, dental examinations to determine poor bite alignment, sliding the teeth from side to side, pressing the areas around the head to identify spots that are sensitive or painful, X-rays to show abnormalities in the joint, and watching, feeling, and listening to the jaw while it is opened or shut.

treatment starts with knowledge. Research as much as you can on and stop living in pain from day to day. Too many people just accept TMJ as part of life, you don’t have to settle for that pain. Look into a cure today.

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