Open your jaw all the way and shut it. This simple movement would not be possible without the Temporo-Mandibular Joint (TMJ). Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder can cause tinnitus in some people. That frustrating ringing in your ears, also known as tinnitus, could definitely be related to TMJ, but it probably won’t be the first sign of a problem with your jaw joint. Do you have a tough time opening your mouth wide to yawn or take a big bite of a burger? Trying to tune out the never-ending ringing when you want to sleep, however, is frustrating beyond words. First the tissue around the joint becomes compressed so it is not able to withstand long term and becomes damaged.
As you could imagine, TMJ is often not recognized and then not treated because it can imitate so many other medical problems. When you bite down hard, you put force on the object between your teeth and on the joint. Stress can indirectly affect your temporomandibular joint by causing you to have poor posture, clench your teeth or move your mouth into an awkward position to chew on your gums or lips repeatedly. Many people who suffer with chronic headaches have no idea that TMJ could be the cause. We will be there to guide you every step of the way. In addition, several muscles contribute to opening and closing the jaw and aid in the function of the TMJ. Some TMJ problems improve on their own, without treatment, within weeks or months with simple home therapy.
It hurts over the joint immediately in front of the ear but pain can also radiate elsewhere. You also might be overworking the jaw muscles to force the jaw closed so your mouth isn’t open all the time. You can feel your TM joints and their movement by placing your fingers directly in front of your ears and opening your mouth. Most people who grind their teeth do it while they are asleep and may not know they are doing it. This avoidance may seem better at the time until your dentist finds hairline cracks in your teeth from clenching and grinding. Or you may keep having pain or discomfort on the side of your face around your ears or jaw joints or difficulty in moving your jaw. Your dentist or health care provider will listen to your symptoms and figure out if you could have TMJ or if your symptoms are caused from another medical condition such as an ear infection or tooth-related problem.
The most common reasons are listed below. The teeth may become sensitive to temperature changes especially cold. If your dentist suspects that your problems are due to an incorrect bite, he or she may help to diagnose the problem by supplying a temporary soft nightguard or hard plastic appliance that fits over your upper or lower teeth. This appliance needs to be measured and fitted very accurately so that when you bite on it, all your teeth meet at exactly the same time in a position where your muscles are relaxed. You may have to wear this all the time or, just at night. If the appliance relieves your symptoms then your bite may need to be corrected permanently. If your teeth are too far out of line or in a totally incorrect bite position, it may be necessary to fit an orthodontic appliance to move them into a better position.
In cases of joint injury, apply ice packs soon after the injury to reduce swelling. Both men and women are affected equally, although women tend to seek treatment more often than men. The symptoms can often start with the menopause or other hormonal changes.