Have you noticed a popping or crackling sound when you open or close your mouth? Perhaps you hear it when you’re chewing. Aside from being distracting, a popping jaw can be a sign of a temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, disorder. The temporomandibular joint is the joint that controls the opening and closing of your mouth. This joint is delicately balanced, and excessive strain can wreak havoc on the joint and your body. Symptoms of a TMJ disorder include frequent headaches, earaches, jaw pain, facial pain, a popping jaw, and difficulty chewing.
Causes of TMJ Disorders
One of the leading causes of TMJ disorders is bruxism, or teeth grinding. The forces of bruxism disturb the balance of the TMJ, resulting in a disorder. Malocclussion, or “bad bite,” is another cause of TMJ disorders. Malocclusion occurs when the teeth of the upper and lower jaws don’t fit together properly. The improper fit strains the TMJ every time the teeth come together. A misaligned jaw is yet another cause of TMJ disorders. If the jaw suffers a blow, its alignment can be disrupted, throwing the TMJ out of harmony.
Treatment varies based on the cause of the disorder. In cases resulting from bruxism, a sleep guard is often effective. The sleep guard repositions the jaw during sleep and prevents the sleeper from grinding his or her teeth, thus relieving the discomfort. If malocclusion is the cause of a TMJ disorder, orthodontic work may be necessary. By repositioning the teeth to fit together properly, the patient will no longer experience strain from every opening and closing of the mouth.
Disorder Treatment from Your Dentist
If you notice persistent cracking or popping from your jaw as well as frequent jaw pain, you may have developed a TMJ disorder. Such a disorder could significantly lower the quality of your life as you develop migraines, earaches, and other pains in the area of the face and neck. Don’t take the risk of waiting to seek help. Call our Williamsburg dentist office at 757-645-4055 today to schedule an appointment.