Elbows and knees are hinging joints. Hands and feet are gliding joint. The jaw both hinges and glides. Hence, it’s also the most complex joint in our body. We also use it more than any other joint when we talk and eat. Therefore, its muscles, ligaments, and discs are constantly working.
The two jaw muscles are called temporomandibular joints or better known as the TMJ. Sometimes, patients experience symptoms of temporomandibular disorder or TMD.
More than 10 million Americans suffer from TMD, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. The TMJ association cites anywhere from 65 to 85 percent of Americans could experience any one of TMD’s symptoms throughout their lifetime.
Statistics such as these stress the importance of seeing a dentist when symptoms develop. Dr. Christopher Griffin, DMD, and his staff in Greenwood, SC, believe it’s important to understand the causes of TMD and recognize its symptoms.
Causes and symptoms
Pain in the chewing muscles is the most common symptom of the disorder. Studying for a test and filing taxes may be stressful causing you to clench and grind your teeth. Tightening your jaw and clenching the teeth overworks your muscles and wears teeth down. Soreness up and down the jaw muscles may follow.
Incessantly chewing on pencils or putting your fingers in your mouth endangers the jaw muscles. A disc connects your lower jaw to the skull. It pulls in different directions and stretches when overused. This may cause popping or clicking when you open and close your mouth.
Misaligned upper and lower teeth may cause TMD. Ligaments and muscles may stretch and move the disc out of place when alignment is off. This may also cause clicking and popping.
People who are constantly waking up with headaches, earaches, swelling on the side of your face, or develop multiple fractured teeth or fillings should also consult us. In severe cases, the mouth can be stuck open or closed.
If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to call (864) 229-2610.
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