What Causes TMJ and How Do I Fix It?

If you have found yourself suffering from TMJ disorder, you are not alone. It is estimated that temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMJ) affect more than 10 million people in the United States. The majority of that number is women, in fact, women in between 20-40 years old account for 90% of all TMJ sufferers. What are some contributing factors to TMJ disorders?

The temporomandibular joint combines a hinge movement with sliding motions. The parts of the bones that interact in the joint are covered with cartilage and are separated by a small shock-absorbing disk.

TMJ disorders can occur if:

· The disk erodes or moves out of proper alignment

· The joint’s cartilage is damaged by arthritis

· The joint is damaged by an impact injury

Other risk factors that can lead to the development of TMJ are:

· Various types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis

· Jaw injury

· Long-term (chronic) grinding or clenching of teeth

· Certain connective tissue diseases that cause problems to the temporomandibular joint

Common suggestions to help relieve TMJ symptoms:

· Chiropractic care: Chiropractors check the alignment of the joint and motion of the jaw as well work on the muscles surrounding the temporomandibular joint

· Muscle relaxers

· A night guard to reduce clenching or grinding of teeth

· Dental work to balance biting surfaces of your teeth

When to see a doctor:

Seek help if you have persistent pain or tenderness in your jaw or experience any of these other symptoms:

· Aching pain in and around your ear

· Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing

· Aching facial pain

· Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth

· Popping or clicking when you open your mouth or chew