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If You Suffer From These Issues You May Be More Likely to Experience Chronic Jaw Pain (TMJ)

If you experience persistent pain around your jaw area, you could be suffering from chronic jaw pain or TMJ. Karen Harriman, DDS and the dental team in Falls Church are highlighting this disorder that can affect your quality of life in many ways, such as interrupting your sleep or making it painful to eat.

The temporomandibular joints are the joints that connect your lower jaw (the mandible) to the bones that connect to your skull (the temporal bones) and are known as TMJ. TMD stands for temporomandibular disorders, however TMD and TMJ are terms used interchangeably to describe chronic jaw pain.

Pain in your jaw needs to be diagnosed so that pain can be managed and reduced. If you have the following issues, you may be more likely to be affected by TMJ/TMD:

  1. Experienced trauma or an injury to the jaw area

  2. Misaligned teeth

  3. Autoimmune diseases (where the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue)

  4. Arthritis

  5. Requiring medical procedures where your mouth is open for prolonged periods of time

TMJ is a common problem for both men and women, but symptoms can be felt more severely for women in childbearing years.

Some symptoms to look out for include:

  • Pain around your jaw muscles and area in front of your ears

  • Jaw locking or limited movement in the jaw

  • Popping or clicking noise when you’re chewing

  • Migraines, persistent headaches or ear aches

  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)

Your Falls Church dentist is your first point of contact to recognize any TMJ issues, however if you have persistent pain, be sure to book an appointment as soon as possible to discuss your concerns. Dr. Harriman can offer a custom treatment plan to reduce your symptoms. Solutions for TMJ may include using a bite guard, an orthodontic treatment, doing physical therapy or in some rare cases, surgery may be required. In the meantime, Dr. Harriman recommends eating a diet of soft foods and to avoid doing any activities that may cause you pain to open and close your mouth such as chewing gum. We look forward to helping you alleviate your symptoms.


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