TMJ Symptoms, Causes, and Remedy
WHAT IS TMJ?
Temporomandibular joint disorders occur due to problems with the jaw or jaw joints and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and movement.
TMJ sufferers experience a wide variety of symptoms, varying from one person to another in terms of severity include: headaches, depression, jaw pain, stiffness or “locked” feeling in the mouth, and difficulty chewing.
Currently, I am a second time braces wearer (first time when I was in third grade), but I can deal with the pain that other people find terribly irritating because I’ve had braces before. And because my TMJ pain kicks the braces pain hardcore.
WHERE DOES TMJ COME FROM?
Multiple different scenarios can be involved to create TMJ.
- Physical Injury to the jaw region can leave a person with serious TMJ related problems.
An uncle of mine mentioned that the TMJ disorder runs in our family. I thought this was peculiar, until I was informed that further research has been done that backs up this theory.
- Genetic can in fact play a role in the creation of TMJ.
Besides genetics, I have encountered TMJ in another way as well. Since I had braces young, and the overbite issue was neither addressed or fixed, over the years my situation became more severe. My overbite became more pronounced.
- A jaw growing at the wrong pace or in the wrong position, direction, sequence.
After getting my braces off the first time, my parents recognized that my overbite still existed. Due to no insurance at the time, perhaps the service completed was not exceptionally great.
But, besides the overbite, my teeth looked fine, until........
MY TEETH HAVE SHIFTED
Last year, a few months before my graduation from college, I noticed something tragic. I could feel my four, center bottom teeth moving which was creating some serious crowding. As for my top teeth, my gap that had been gone for years was coming back between my two front teeth. I freaked. After graduation I went to the orthodontist not wanting to be there at all and thinking how old I was!
I initially thought I could do the “easy approach” and that there must be something quick to fix my teeth since they honestly didn’t look that bad. I figured maybe a custom made retainer would suffice. This wasn’t the case and when I was told I had to get braces again to correct this I thought, yeah right. And when I heard that orthodontic surgery would be the only way to correct everything, since I’ve already had braces once, I thought most definitely not!
Well, it’s funny how things work out. I’m in braces now and planning on surgery sometime this summer - (update - surgery was successfully completed August 2011). I decided today to write this hub because I honestly don’t know much about TMJ, although I supposedly have it. Here’s some reading material to keep ya’ll informed, in regards to symptoms and such.
- TMJ disorders - MayoClinic.com
TMJ disorders Comprehensive overview covers symptoms and treatment, including surgery.
- Temporomandibular (TMJ) Joint Disorder: Symptoms, Treatments, and More
Information about temporomandibular (TMJ) disorders (TMD). The temporomandibular joint is the hinge that connects the lower jaw to the skull. Learn about the causes, symptoms and treatments for TMD.
THROBBING HEAD PAIN
Ibuprofen is supposedly pretty bad on the stomach and possibly causes ulcers and such. I take it quite often for my throbbing headaches, which are nonstop 24/7. They aren’t always throbbing, but vary throughout the day. Some mornings, I wake up feeling excellent with very mild headaches that I can deal with.
I sometimes wake up feeling so exhausted, even on nine or so hours of sleep. Every bone in my body is yelling. The last thing I want to do is go to work, or get out of bed, on days like this. Similarly related to TMJ depression is the headaches, previously discussed. Something about throbbing head pain which oftentimes continues down into the shoulders, back, neck and ears, equate and account for why this depression occurs. Thus, it is not sporadic and TMJ symptoms do relate and correspond with one another. Target the pain and the depression symptoms will decrease too, or at least that is my theory.
STIFFNESS OR “LOCKED” JAW
I’ll acknowledge that I have jaw stiffness but I’m lucky to not have the “locked” jaw effect. My jaw has never seized and “locked” up on me, but it does click quite often around the back of the jaw and near the ear. Locked jaw is definitely something to be wary of. Some TMJ sufferers swear by use of cold ice or warm heat packs to be applied to the jaw area to help soothe.
Many TMJ sufferers have reported an inability to chew certain tough foods, like steak. As for me, my jaw chews things well, or maybe I don’t notice its faultiness due to other symptoms previously discussed. Or maybe I love eating so much that I try not to worry about what I cannot eat. It’s bad enough I can’t eat those gooey little Samoas – my favorite Girl Scout cookie.
WHAT TO DO
The symptoms are endless for people with TMJ disorder and varying. The symptoms of one sufferer may not coincide with someone else’s symptoms.
- Check with your dentist or orthodontist and ask what they suggest is the best option for you. TMJ disorder may not be discussed without you first expressing an interest.
I approached my dentist and we asked him what we should do and/or if he agreed that I should proceed to look into orthodontics. He answered that orthodontics were obviously needed but that his job is to clean my teeth. I have very clean teeth and therefore his place was not to discuss any other matter with me, such as the need for orthodontics.
IS SURGERY THE ONLY OPTION?
You should seek assistance if you have head or jaw pain that may be associated with TMJ and if it is causing you problems. Depending on the severity of your TMJ case and the symptoms you have, different options are available.
My teeth and TMJ disorder COULD have been fixed more easily, if I wasn’t a full-blown adult. My jaw is now fully grown and cannot be adjusted by means of braces and a retainer. TMJ candidates who are younger should definitely attempt to fix all issues while still young and growing for it is so much simpler, cheaper and much less painful.
- First just take a few minutes to Google some information on this disorder and/or check out the links here on my HubPage where you can read up and get informed.
- Secondly, if in pain and experiencing symptoms similar to people with TMJ, find a good orthodontist to speak to about your options.
- Thirdly, if the time comes to discuss surgery, GET AN EXCELLENT SURGEON (like mine - (Update - surgery was successfully completed August 2011.) Find one that frequently does jaw surgeries and is VERY experienced and HIGHLY regarded.
I hope my hub on my experience as well as suggestions and little bit of information on TMJ has helped you and loved ones understand what you are going through. Relax, and sooner or later your TMJ pain will be diminished as long as you take the necessary steps to rid TMJ pain.
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