If you have a poorly aligned bite or missing teeth, facial pain or jaw pain can become more pronounced, causing further issues. This often occurs because the jaw muscles are working harder to bring the teeth together. As a result, the surrounding jaw muscles are strained. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you might be suffering from temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) in Scottsdale, which is a painful condition that can be mistaken for recurring headaches and jaw pain.

What are the Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ)?

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the points at which the lower jaw attaches to the skull, and are among the most complex joints in the human body.  If your jaw clicks or pops, this could be a sign of TMJ disorder.  Joint sound is one of the most recognized signs of TMD along with the following symptoms:

  • Clicking and/or difficulty when opening and closing your mouth
  • Frequent headaches
  • Neck and/or shoulder pain
  • Sensitive teeth when no dental problems can be found
  • Jaw pain or stiff jaw when chewing, biting, eating or yawning
  • Earaches without an infection

If you suffer from TMD you are at particular risk because it can restrict the range of an acceptable bite size.  Taking too large of bites of food can aggravate their condition.  You should always avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and opening nuts with your teeth, as it can lead to the chipping and breakage of natural teeth and other dental restorations.

Pain is Linked with Stress

Do you have too many things on your “to-do” list and not enough time to do it?  It is important to take a deep breath and stay calm when performing stressful tasks.  According to the Academy of General Dentistry, when a situation causes stress, many people grind or clench their teeth, which can eventually lead to temporomandibular joint disorder.

When you experience many stressful situations, you may exhibit symptoms such as tightened jaw muscles without realizing it.  Over short periods of time, this habit is not detrimental, but long periods of time will prove to be problematic.  Prolonged grinding or clenching of your teeth while stressed can cause soreness of the jaw, as well as partial or full locking of the jaw.  In addition you may exhibit clicking in the jaw area, earaches that are not caused by infections and pain surrounding your temples.

If your pain lasts for several days, talk to Dr. Sara at AZ Sleep & TMJ Solutions here in North Scottsdale, AZ to ensure that there is no serious problem.  By visiting Dr. Sara, you can take the next step toward a pain free life.