If you’ve noticed that you’ve been having headaches and an aching jaw lately, it may be because of temporomandibular joint disorder, commonly known as “TMJ.” It can be caused by different things, but thankfully you also have some different options for treatment. There are also some things you can avoid to keep your pain from getting worse.
How do I know if I have TMJ?
Your doctor or dentist can determine if you have TMJ, but signs of TMJ include pain in and around the ear, your jaw “locking up,” a popping or clicking sound when you open or close your mouth, headaches, and pain in the jaw and the head and neck muscles. You may also have pain when you eat or even when you talk.
There are different reasons you may have TMJ. It can be caused by a misalignment of teeth (which can happen if you are missing a tooth and your other teeth start to move), constant teeth grinding, an injury to the jaw, or a connective tissue disease. It can even be genetic.
To prevent jaw pain, there are some things you should avoid:
1. Stress. This is, of course, easier said than done. But stress has so many negative effects on the body – including making the jaw muscles tense up, which can be very painful if you have TMJ.
2. Having bad posture, which puts stress on your muscles
3. Smoking, which can cause joint pain and make pain in the jaw worse
4. Eating hard foods, such as candy, or chewy foods, such as bagels
5. Chewing on hard objects such as pen caps or pencils
6. Using your teeth for anything other than chewing, such as using them to open packages
If you have TMJ pain more often than not and it is interfering with your daily life, these tips may not be enough to help. Dr. Konig can help you to figure out why you are having jaw pain and then can help you to find relief. Call the Konig Center for Cosmetic and Comprehensive Dentistry in Houston, Texas, at (713) 668-2289 today for an appointment!