The temporomandibular joints (TMJs) are responsible for jaw movements. They make it easier for us to open and close our jaws anytime. However, what do you think happens when there is a problem with the temporomandibular joints? Let’s find out!
TMD (temporomandibular disorder) is a joint disorder that occurs due to problems originating from the temporomandibular joints, which are responsible for opening and closing the jaw.
The temporomandibular joint usually is flexible to enable easy movement. It connects the temporal bone (side and core of the skull) and the mandible (lower jaw). The TMJ allows us to chew, swallow, talk, yawn, and smile easily.
TMD can lead to Lockjaw when it progresses or becomes severe. This means that the muscles supporting the jaw or the jaw become locked and that severely restricts movements.
Causes of TMD
Although the exact cause of TMD is not known, technically, anything that disrupts the joints, ligaments, disc, muscles, and bones from harmonizing can lead to TMD. That causes severe pain whenever they try to make specific jaw movements.
Some factors that could lead to TMD include:
- Dislocated joint
- Misaligned teeth and jaw
- Bruxism (teeth clenching or grinding)
- Muscle pressure
What are the Symptoms of TMD?
When you observe the following signs, you should see your healthcare provider or dentist immediately for an examination.
- Headaches or migraines
- Locked Jaw
- Popping or clicking of the jaw with sounds
- Ringing in the ears
- Restricted mouth movements
- Teeth sensitivity that is not caused by a dental health problem
- Misalignment between the upper and lower teeth
- Soreness around the jaw
- Discomfort or pain spreads from the back of the eyes to the shoulder, neck, or back.
How to Relieve TMJ Pain or Lockjaw with Exercises?
There are some exercises for lockjaw or TMD that can help you take away the pressure or tension around your jaw joints, strengthen your jaw muscles, relax your jaw, reduce jaw clicking and encourage jaw healing. First of all, you should see a TMJ specialist around you. Your TMJ specialist would put you through how to perform the following jaw exercises for lockjaw or TMD.
1. Relaxed Jaw Exercise:
you can perform this exercise by placing your tongue gently on the roof of your mouth which is behind your upper front teeth. Make sure to open your mouth so that your upper and lower teeth can come apart while your jaw muscles relax.
2. Chin Tucks:
Place your shoulders back and raise your chest. Then, drag your chin straight back to make it a double chin. Hold for 3 seconds and do it continually for ten times.
3. Tongue Up:
Open your mouth slowly while your tongue is touching the top of your mouth.
4. Forward Jaw Movement:
Get a ¼ inch object and place it in the middle of your lower and upper teeth. Drag your bottom jaw to the front so your lower teeth can get in front of your upper teeth. Try this exercise with thicker objects as it gets easier.
5. Side-to-side Jaw Movement:
Get a ¼ inch object and place it in the middle of your upper and lower teeth. Then, move your jaw from side to side slowly. You can try with thicker objects as the exercise gets easier.
6. Resisted Opening of The Mouth:
Place your thumb under your chin and slowly open your mouth so that your chin can push against your thumb gently. Hold for six seconds, and then slowly close your mouth.
If TMJ pain is caused by teeth grinding (bruxsim), you can see a dentist. Your TMJ dentist can provide you with custom-made night guards to reduce the pressure from teeth grinding, thereby relieving TMJ pain.
Visit Landmark Smiles of Scottsdale today for more information about TMD and how to relieve TMJ pain with exercises.