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While it’s normal to experience the occasional ache or pain, persistent jaw pain is always something you should talk about with your dentist. Recurring pain in the jaw, accompanied by a clicking or popping noise when you open your mouth, and changes in your bite pattern can all point to a condition called TMJ disorder, an increasingly common complaint with no one cause or solution.
TMJ stands for temperomandibular joint, the joints that connect the jaw to the sides of the skull. This ball-and-socket jaw joint is prone to developing issues, and can be impacted by bruxism, injury, arthritis, or a misaligned bite, among other things. People with TMJ disorder experience pain and discomfort to varying degrees. In some cases, TMJ can lead to the joint slipping in and out of its place, causing issues with bite as well as pain and difficulty using the jaw to speak or eat.
If you’ve experienced any changes in bite, jaw pain, or other unexplained noises or pain in the jaw, you should let us know at your next dental checkup. By questioning you about the symptoms and performing an examination and x-rays of the TMJ joint, we can pinpoint the trouble spots and recommend a treatment plan. Treatment may be something as simple as home care (compresses or jaw exercises), or involve mouth guards, jaw adjustments, and surgery in extreme cases. We will recommend what we consider best for your particular TMJ issues.
TMJ pain can be alleviated with a dental treatment plan, so don’t assume your jaw pain is “just another twinge”! Let us know your symptoms and we’ll help you out.