If you are experiencing popping sounds or jaw clicking when you bite or if jaw locking becomes frequent associated with ear pain, facial pain and headaches, furthermore, beginning to have pain and difficulty in biting and chewing, you might be experiencing a Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder that needs immediate medical attention.
The TMJ is comprised of muscles, blood vessels, nerves, and bones. We have two Temporomandibular joints, one on each side of the jaw. The pain can be caused by several medical problems that we may not be aware of. Talking, chewing and yawning is controlled by the TMJ as the closing and opening of the mouth involves muscles and the jawbone movement.
According to medical experts symptoms associated with TMJ disorders are the following:
• Biting difficulty or chewing discomfort
• Popping sound when opening or closing the mouth
• Chronic ache and pain in the face
• Earache and headache, particularly in the morning
• In some cases there is hearing loss, dizziness and migraine
• Difficulty to open or close the mouth
External factors that causes TMJ are as follows:
• Bruxism or merely the grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw is a contributory factor in most cases of TMJ.
• Bite collapse or loss of bite height
• Accidental injuries
• Mal-alignment of the occlusal surfaces of the teeth due to genetics, defective crowns, restorative procedures, lack of cooperation during orthodontic treatment.
• Too much gum chewing
• Nail biting
• Excessive mouth opening during yawning and eating large sized foods
• Over jaw clenching from anger or stress
Home care – most doctors prescribe anti-inflammatory pain medications, eating soft diet foods and applying warm compress on area where there is pain. As the jaw joint rests and recovers, typically symptoms disappear in about two weeks.
If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.