Technically, TMJ refers to temporomandibular joint. This is the where the mandible or lower jaw joins the skull at the temporal bone. Talking, yawning, chewing: we use this joint all the time, and when things aren’t working right, pain is the result. Common symptoms include:
- pain/discomfort in the jaw, face, or neck
- headache or earache
- pain/discomfort when chewing
- difficulty opening or closing jaw fully
- muscle stiffness in jaw
When such pain occurs, doctors typically refer to the condition as TMJ after the joint causing the problems. Stress often is the culprit in TMJ, as stress-behaviors like jaw-clenching and teeth-grinding can overtax the joint and result in the above symptoms. Dr. Hercules Real of REAL Dentistry in Fullerton, California is ready to help patients experiencing these symptoms of TMJ.
In some circumstances, however, conditions other than stress can lead to TMJ. Potential causes are:
- Different types of arthritis
- Joint inflammation or injury
- Anatomical problems since birth
- Jaw misalignment
While surgery can offer relief for your TMJ, if the source of your pain appears to be stress, exercise and various relaxation techniques can help relieve symptoms through managing your stress. If you think you have TMJ, talk to your dentist or other health care provider about ways to address your pain and its causes. Dr. Hercules Real and the staff at REAL Dentistry are here for you.