Experiencing jaw discomfort may be a normalcy for you. Bothersome aches and pains are typically overlooked by many, as we feel like it is a standard occurrence. This mindset should not be our standard as we may be missing crucial signs and symptoms of treatable problems. If you are dealing with jaw pain, you should see your dentist as you may be dealing with TMJ disorder. The TMJ, otherwise known as the temporomandibular joint, acts as a hinge that connects your jawbone to your skull. If your daily discomfort includes struggling to move your jaw and discomfort while speaking and eating, it is best to see your dental professional for a TMJ disorder examination.
Prior to seeing your dentist, it is ideal for you to preform home checks to ensure your jaw discomfort is not a “one off” scenario. Your home checks should include checking your pain by touch and listening to see if your jaw is clicking.
When you go in for your examination, your doctor will perform similar tests, but in a more in depth manner. One way your dentist will check is by touch. They will use their fingers to apply some pressure to the TMJ location to check for tenderness and pain. They too will listen for jaw noises, and see if there is any clicking or catching of the jaw when you open and close your mouth. And finally, they will look in your mouth for signs of teeth grinding and clenching, and if you have any jaw alignment issues. During this part of the examination, they may turn to X-ray’s to ensure you are in fact dealing with TMJ disorder.
If you are diagnosed with TMJ issues, your dentist will come up with a treatment plan unique to you, to heal your pain. Contact your doctor at the first signs and symptoms of any pain of the jaw. If you are dealing with TMJ disorder, you will feel the discomfort parallel to the ear, where your jaw opens and closes. Schedule an appointment as soon as you can, and get rid of your aches.