Jaw function may not be something you think of every day, and probably not as often as you think of your teeth and gums. Yet, how your jaw moves plays an important role in more than just your dental health, but also everyday life, like when you speak or bite and chew your food. TMJ disorder (which gains its name from your jaw’s temporomandibular joints) affects your jaw’s ability to perform its duties, and in doing so, can lead to a variety of forms of discomfort.
An Inside Look at Jaw Function
Your TMJs are hinge-and-gliding joints that offer a unique range of movement for your jaw to do what it must. Each joint is located just in front of each ear, and connects your lower jaw to the temporal areas of your skull. As you open and close your mouth, and as the joints sustain the pressure of movement, they distribute the stress evenly. When healthy, TMJs allow your jaw, teeth, and oral structures to continuously absorb bite pressure with no damage. When they’re distressed, however, this pressure is often distributed poorly, and your jaw and oral structures can suffer damage and increasing discomfort as a result.
It Could Be TMJ Disorder If…
TMJ disorder can develop for a number of reasons, from a crooked bite or excessive stress to a jaw or facial injury. Likewise, the symptoms of TMJ disorder can be equally diverse, though if you experience any of the following symptoms, then a jaw joint dysfunction may be to blame;
- Chronic headaches/migraines
- Sore jaw muscles
- Trouble moving your jaw
- Popping noises in your jaw
- Occasional locked jaw (mouth becomes stuck open or closed)
- Recurring earaches
- Bruxism (unconscious teeth grinding)
- Muscle spasms in the jaw, neck, and face
ABOUT YOUR BUTLER, PA, DENTIST:
Dr. Keelan and our dedicated team at Keelan Dental offer patients the comfortable, convenient dental care that everyone needs and deserves. To schedule an initial consultation, or your next dental appointment, call our office in Butler, PA at (724) 285-4153. We proudly welcome patients of all ages from Butler, Cranberry Township, Mars, Pittsburgh, Butler County, and all surrounding communities.