Understanding the Causes of Temporomandibular Joint Pain

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Pain in the muscles and tissues that connect your lower jaw to your skull can be a symptom of a number of disorders called temporomandibular joint disorders, more commonly known as TMJ pain.

Each of us has two temporomandibular joints, one on either side of our heads. Normally they function painlessly because everything is in balance, but if the balance is thrown off by abnormal stresses to the neck, jaw, cartilage nerves, or teeth, then that can cause the chronic TMJ pain.

Many factors can cause TMJ pain. Several are self-inflicted bad oral habits. If you habitually grind or clench your teeth, pop your jaw too much, or chew gum excessively, that can cause the pain. Other things can also cause it, such as stress, lack of exercise or poor posture, poor diet, or a dysfunctional bit can all contribute to the pain.

The symptoms of TMJ pain are varied and generally obvious. Symptoms can include discomfort and difficulty when biting or chewing, popping, grating, or clicking when opening and closing the mouth, a dull ache in the face, earaches or headaches, pain or stiffness in the jaw, or a change in how the teeth fit together.

If you have any of these symptoms, Dr. Carl McMillan can help you. Call TMJ Therapy in American Fork, Utah, today to learn about your options for treating TMJ pain.