Do I have TMD? When I eat, my jaw cracks, pops and it hurts. Today, I attempted to eat and opened my jaw and it felt locked. At this moment, I can only fit a couple fingers in my mouth and my jaw seems to pop out of place. What is going on?
– Andrew from Louisiana
Based on what you’ve mentioned, it sounds like you may be suffering from Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD) and lock jaw. Research indicates this type of disorder is often caused by stress and this occurs when a person grinds or clenches their teeth while sleeping; this is a way to alleviate pent-up anxiety. Of course clenching may also occur when a person is awake as well.
The act of clenching and grinding may cause clicking and popping and make your teeth hurt. All of this may also cause gum recession and bone loss around the teeth.
People often experience TMD problems when their teeth due to the fact that their teeth are not properly aligned. When this is the case, orthodontics is needed to correct jaw joint issues.
If you’re not suffering from bad tooth alignment, your dentist will probably recommend a night guard for you to wear at night when you sleep. This will prevent you from clenching and grinding and will alleviate your symptoms of cracking and popping. This will also keep you from suffering tooth pain or bone loss.
Clues that you may be grinding or clenching:
■Jaw joint pain
■Ab fraction Lesions (tooth enamel wearing off side of tooth next to gums causing sensitivity)
If you’re suffering from tooth pain or lock jaw, use heat and ice packs on your jaw joints several times a day for 10-15 minutes at a time. This will alleviate swelling around your joints. Lock jaw may last several weeks.
We recommend you book an appointment and see a dentist for an evaluation on your condition. They will be able to rule out whether you’re suffering from Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction and will know how to help you.
This blog brought to you by Dr. Ryan Perry, Baton Rouge Family Dentist.