TMJ – also known as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder – is commonly thought of as a single disorder. However, it is actually a group of issues involving the joints and muscles around the jaw area. In order to prevent problems with TMJ, it’s important to understand the myriad of different symptoms to first help you recognize that there is an issue in need of your attention.

Common symptoms of TMJ include:

  • Stiff jaw muscles
  • Pain while chewing
  • Limited jaw motion
  • Involuntarily locked jaw
  • Painful clicking, popping, or grating in the jaw joints while talking or chewing

Additionally, your jaw may even come out of alignment – which causes your teeth to grind unevenly and leads to various dental problems. While there is no “cure” for TMJ, there are plenty of ways to prevent and treat it.

Common causes of TMJ include:

  • Grinding/clenching teeth
  • Damaged joint cartilage (often due to arthritis or trauma)
  • Dislocated jaw

TMJ has also been known to develop without known cause, so it can be particularly elusive to avoid. The most obvious way to prevent it is to avoid trauma to the jaw or surrounding area, such as a blow to the face. Furthermore, if you are experiencing high stress, it could be causing you to grind or clench your teeth. In this instance, we recommend gently massaging your jaw joint and taking measures to reduce your stress. Another affective way to prevent TMJ is to stay aware of muscle inflammation. You can practice relaxing facial muscles and performing daily jaw exercises to increase your jaw’s range of motion.

If you are trying to cope with a current case of TMJ, there are many methods you can use while undergoing treatment with your dentist. We also encourage you to speak with your dentist about any other recommendations to prevent further TMJ issues. For more information about how to prevent or treat TMJ, schedule an appointment with our office at (562) 434-6414.