Millions of people in the United States are living with TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) disorder and have no idea that it is the source of their pain and discomfort. TMJ disorder, or TMD, is pain in the jaw and surrounding tissues. Symptoms and issues from TMD can range from mild or occasional discomfort, to more severe pain and disruptions to daily life.
It’s estimated by the TMJ Association that around 35 million people in the United States are affected by this disorder. That’s around 12% of the population and most of these people are women.
Why TMJ Disorder matters
Symptoms can range from things like headaches and migraines, neck and shoulder pain, jaw pain or stiffness to other symptoms like dizziness, and even ear pain or ringing. Finding the cause – and a solution – to these symptoms can make a big difference in your life. If left untreated, TMD can cause damage to your teeth, joint, muscles, and tissues, so you want to talk to your healthcare provider about it.
What are the causes
- Injury or trauma to your jaw or face
- Unaligned bite
Treating TMJ Disorder
Most jaw and facial muscle pain is temporary and will go away on its own. If it doesn’t go away in a few weeks, visit your dentist or primary care doctor to rule out any other causes. A few things you can do on your own include:
- Eat soft foods
- Reduce stress or talk with someone about your stress
- Use ice or heat on the jaw or muscles
- Avoid chewing gum and wide yawns
- Don’t hold the phone with your shoulder
- Sleep on your side with a pillow supporting your neck
TMJ disorder is something many people live with. And for some people, the symptoms will come and go. If you are someone who has lasting symptoms, talk to one or our healthcare providers.