I must have been about 16 or 17 when I happened to yawn and I just couldn’t close my mouth. No Kidding, I had this excruciating pain just beneath my cheekbones, more towards the ears. I pressed the painful area with my fingers and slowly closed my mouth. It felt like my jawbones were locked and needed lubrication. Every time it happened, I had problems with opening my mouth. I couldn’t eat properly, or even chew. Every time I tried to chew I was in agony.
This happened a few times and my mother told me that my maternal uncle also had the same problem. I put it down to a genetic problem and continued suffering it. After a few weeks everything was back to normal and I thought nothing much of it until today when I started researching for this article. I think what I had was Temporomandibular Disorder or TMJ Melbourne.
Temporomandibuolar Disorder is a disorder that arises due to an improperly aligned jaw. This means that the hinge connecting the upper and lower jaw isn’t working properly.
The temporomandibular joint is actually the hinge in question; it connects the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull, which are in front of each ear. The movement of this joint allows your jaw to move up or down, side to side, enabling you to talk, chew, and yawn. Problems arising with the jaw and the facial muscles that control it are known as temporomandibular Disorder or TMJ.
The causes of TMJ can be teeth or jaw injury, misalignment of teeth and/or jaw, poor posture, teeth grinding, stress, arthritis and gum chewing. It is however important to look out for the symptoms as they can easily be confused with symptoms of other problems like swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, ill fitting dentures or dental braces, to name a few. Your dentist can help make a proper diagnosis. If you suffer from any of the following you may be a victim of TMJ.
- Pain in the, face, jaw or ear area
- Pain in the neck and shoulders
- Visibility problems
- Severe headaches
- Stiffness of the jaw muscles
- Ear pain, pressure, fullness, ringing in the ears, or tinnitus
- Locking or dislocation of the jaw, known as lock jaw. This usually happens after yawning widely
- A bite that feels “off”
- Painful clicking, popping or grating of the jaw joint when opening or closing mouth
- Swelling at the sides of the face
- Pain at the base of the tongue
If you think you may have TMJ try eating soft foods, and avoid extreme jaw movements like yawning and gum chewing. Over the counter pain killers help deal with the pain.
To know more about TMJ and your treatment options, contact the Melbourne TMJ dentists at Holistic Dental and schedule a consultation. They will talk to you about your general health and conduct an examination and decide what course of treatment is best for you.