People often refer to conditions of the jaw as TMJ because your jaw joint is called the temporomandibular joint. Conditions of the jaw are often referred to as TMJD or temporomandibular joint disorder.
Usually when people say they have TMJ, they are referring to the symptoms of a joint disorder or dysfunction. Some of the symptoms may include:
- Locking open
- Locking closed
- Neck aches
- Shoulder pain
- Teeth grinding
TMJD often starts with no real cause, though some patients have reported symptoms after a car accident, sports injury, or other trauma. Often, a cause cannot be pinpointed. TMJD can start at any stage of life in both men and women.
You may notice worsening symptoms after you wake up in the morning. If you do, it is a pretty good indication that you are grinding your teeth at night. A night guard or splint could help to relieve your symptoms and improve your comfort. A night guard can also protect your teeth from wear and tear you may cause from teeth grinding and clenching.
Sometimes, symptoms may be worse at times of stress. Managing your stress and limiting stress-causing foods like caffeine and sugar could work in conjunction with treatment to provide you faster relief.