Does your jaw hurt or seem to shift when you bite and chew? Do you occasionally have difficulty opening and closing your jaw fully? Jaw pain and discomfort is a common sign of TMJ disorder, or TMD, which is a dysfunction in one or both of the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) upon which your lower jaw pivots. Some patients may not realize that a condition is to blame for their discomfort, and may go years before receiving a TMD diagnosis. If your jaw hurts, then TMJ disorder may be to blame, especially if the pain is accompanied by other common symptoms.

Other Signs of TMD

When TMJs are in trouble, they can place stress on your trigeminal nerves—the most dominant of your 12 cranial nerve groups. As a result, symptoms can include jaw pain as well as;

  • Popping sensations in your jaw when you open and close your mouth
  • Chronic headaches and migraines
  • Pain and soreness in your facial and jaw muscles
  • Sore neck and upper back muscles
  • Consistent teeth-grinding (bruxism)
  • Discomfort and/or ringing in your ears
  • And more

How to Relieve the Pain

If you experience any of the above symptoms, then your dentist can perform a TMJ assessment to determine if your jaw’s joints are damaged, misaligned, inflamed, or otherwise disturbed. Many patients can find relief through a custom-designed mouthguard that helps balance your lower jaw along its TMJs. The appliance helps the joints and muscles heal and restore balance to your bite to alleviate chronic symptoms and the risk of subsequent dental problems.

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