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5 Common Signs of TMJ

Did you know your Las Vegas dental team can also help heal the pain associated with a very common ailment called TMJ? TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint and it is the hinge connecting the jawbone to your skull. It frequently causes a whole host of painful symptoms, and the American Dental Association (ADA) says about 15% of all Americans experience extreme discomfort when this complex series of bone and muscles get out of whack.

This article will walk you through TMJ and five of the most common signs of problems that could signal your need to visit your Las Vegas dentist.

Signs of TMJ

The TMJ joint, which is located inside your face and just in front of your ear, is an important ball and socket mechanism that lets you talk and chew food. When that joint becomes inflamed or irritated it can cause facial pain, headaches, and you will hear a distinctive popping noise as you try to move the joint. TMJ causes jaw tenderness and you may not even be able to open your jaws very wide if the joint is highly inflamed.

TMJ can happen to children, but we most frequently see the disorder in adults. Typically there are five common reasons for TMJ, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Jaw dislocation
  • Injury
  • Tooth and jaw misalignment
  • Stress and grinding of the teeth

TMJ can be chronic or can flare up unexpectedly. Your Las Vegas dentist should be called immediately; there are easy ways to mitigate the problem and lessen your pain. There are all kinds of obvious reasons for TMJ, but a few that may surprise you, including:

  • Stress from a heavy academic workload. We see high school and college students frequently in our practice. Many times they’re not even fully aware of their high stress – until TMJ flares up.
  • TMJ can flare up in the casual drug user. Some drugs like amphetamines can cause the user to grind their teeth and tighten the jaw muscles. This can lead to a wearing down of the teeth and ball and socket joint, causing great discomfort.
  • Oddly, poor posture can contribute to TMJ. Slouching or hunching your back can cause misalignment of your jaw. That can lead to a permanent jaw alignment issues that could cause the pain of TMJ.
  • The stress of tax season could cause many of us to grind our teeth more frequently. Anytime there is financial stress, the body can react negatively, and tax season is generally the time many of us are awash in worry. We actually see an increase in TMJ cases just after tax filing deadlines.
  • Don’t laugh – but eating giant sandwiches can cause TMJ. While you may be tempted to “supersize it,” opening your jaw wide enough to accommodate some of the big burritos and sandwiches sold today can actually put stress on the jaw muscles.

If you’re suffering from jaw pain, don’t hesitate to call your Las Vegas dentist. We can easily diagnose the problem and provide you with solutions to eliminate the pain and suffering you feel from TMJ disorder.