Do You Have a Sore Jaw? It Could Be TMJ

Dr. James Maragos, your dentist in LaGrange, IL, is here for you if you're suffering from a sore jaw. Your temporomandibular joint connects the jaw bone to the skull. It works with your facial muscles to control chewing and speaking. If you're having pain or stiffness in the jaw, it could be TMJ.

What is TMJ?

A temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, can describe a variety of conditions that affect the temporomandibular joint and the surrounding facial nerves and muscles. TMJ causes pain and dysfunction to the jaw joint, and has the following symptoms:

  • Jaw pain when chewing or biting
  • Jaw soreness
  • Headaches and neck aches
  • Clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth
  • Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
  • Pain in or around the ear

Come see us in LaGrange, IL, if you're having any of these symptoms. We can help determine what is causing your discomfort and figure out the best treatment plan for you.

What causes TMJ?

In some cases, trauma to the joint is a clear cause of the dysfunction. In most cases, it's hard to say exactly what causes TMJ because it is often a combination of factors. TMJ can be related to stress because bruxism, or clenching and grinding teeth, contributes to TMJ. Some people do this overnight and aren't aware, and it often gets worse with stress. Besides teeth grinding, some other factors that contribute to TMJ are:

  • Arthritis
  • Misaligned bite
  • Erosion of the joint

What can I do about TMJ?

It's important to see your dentist or doctor who can pinpoint the cause of TMJ and figure out the best treatment for you. Your dentist may recommend a bite guard or splint to wear if bruxism is contributing to your TMJ.

Managing stress can help with TMJ because bruxism increases with stress. The best way to manage stress is a balance of exercise and your favorite relaxing activities. Your dentist can recommend gentle stretches for your jaw that can help relieve pain and stiffness. If you are in pain they may recommend icing the jaw or using over-the-counter medications.

If you are having jaw pain, you don't have to suffer. Dr. Maragos can help. Contact us in LaGrange, IL, at (708) 352-7358.

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