TMD is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint disorder, which encompasses jaw misalignment problems. Many adult patients suffer from TMD. The cause can be hard to identify, but the symptoms are obvious. Patients report difficulty chewing. They also describe jaw clicking noises, like a buzz or pop when they move their jaw. Ear pain and headaches have also been associated with TMD. Lastly, the range of motion for TMD patients is smaller as the tenderness hinders opening the mouth too wide.
Why Chewing is Painful
Chewing originates at the jaw hinge. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), is responsible for connecting the jaw to the temporal bones of your skull. These bones are in front of each ear. These joints allow you to move your jaw both up and down, as well as side to side. Talking, chewing, and yawning are possible with a healthy and functional TMJ. These movements become uncomfortable if the alignment of your TMJ becomes compromised. This can be due to injury, stress, misaligned teeth, or grinding of the teeth.
Chewing can increase jaw pain if you have TMD. Some believe that chewing gum, for instance, can help alleviate most jaw problems. However, chewing gum can make things worse. The symptoms worsen as you antagonize an already misaligned joint. Your jaw will ache more. Chewing requires constant movement of the jaw. In addition, chewing puts pressure on the teeth and which can aggravate the jaw. It is possible to bring on a headache, or worse, a migraine while chewing excessively with TMD.
Avoid chewing gum as well as other foods that are hard to chew or irritating to the jaw if you have TMD. Then, call our office so we can figure out the cause of your joint pain and get you started on the appropriate treatment to help alleviate your discomfort.
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