June 9th, 2016
Is it painful or difficult for you to open and close your mouth? If the answer is yes, you might have a TMJ (temporomandibular joints) disorder.
The temporomandibular joints include the joints, muscles, ligaments, bones that are responsible for not only the opening and closing of your mouth, but also chewing, speaking, and swallowing. They also control the movement of the mandible (the lower jaw).
Between the ball and socket is a disc for each joint. This disc allows the jaw to open wide, rotate, or glide by acting as a cushion. If the TMJ system fails to work properly, it may lead to a disorder that can cause pain or discomfort.
Some causes of TMJ disorder are:
- tooth/jaw alignment
- teeth grinding
Ways to alleviate the pain and treat the disorder include:
- avoid hard foods and stick to softer foods
- don't chew gum
- don't bite your nails
- relieve pain through heat packs
- relaxation techniques for jaw tension (biofeedback, meditation, etc.)
- jaw muscle strengthening exercises
- medications (muscle relaxants, analgesics, anti-anxiety/anti-inflammatory drugs)
- night guard/bite plate to help stop clenching or teeth grinding
If you would like to run a diagnosis or are interested in treatment for orofacial pain, we would happy to assist you here at Wellesley Dental Group. Our specialist, Dr. Emad Abdallah, received a Master of Science in TMJ and orofacial pain from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston.