April 6, 2019OUR JAWS DO A LOTof work throughout the day, opening and closing over and over so that we can do ordinary things like talk, eat, and yawn. Ideally, all of the anatomy involved functions as it should and we can perform these tasks without trouble, but many people struggle with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders because something has gone wrong.
The Anatomy Of The Temporomandibular JointsThe joints on both sides of our jaw, located between the ear and the cheekbone, consists of three parts: the socket (part of the temporal bone), the ball (the top part of the jawbone),and a small, fibrous disk that acts as a cushion between the two.The ball and socket are covered in cartilage to help keep movement smooth and comfortable. If the disk erodes or moves out of its proper alignment, if the cartilage on the bone is worn away by arthritis, or if there is a traumatic injury to the joint, a TMJ disorder may be the result.
Symptoms Of TMJ DisordersCommon symptoms of a TMJ disorderinclude:
- Clicking or popping sounds in the joint when chewing, or a grating sensation
- Pain or tenderness of the jaw
- Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints
- Difficult or painful chewing
- Aching pain around the face
- Aching pain in and around the ear
- Difficulty opening or closing the jaw due to locking of the joint
Tips For Relieving TMJ PainIf you're dealing with TMJ pain, there are a few things you can do to reduce it on your own:
- Keep yawning and chewing to a minimum.
- When possible, avoid extreme jaw movements like from singing or yelling.
- If you have to yawn, control it by pressing a fist beneath your chin.
- When resting, hold your teeth slightly apart rather than fully closed.This is the natural resting position for the jaw,even when the lips are closed.
- Eat soft foods that require little to no chewing.