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TMJ is the acronym for Temporormandibular joint disorder, and it concerns the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull. This problematic disorder is triggered and aggravated by excessive clenching of the jaw and grinding of the teeth. Gone undiagnosed, the disorder causes pain in the joint of the jaw and fatigues the muscles of the jaw, causing it to be sore and impede movement.

It is impossible to pinpoint which specific factors cause TMJ in every person because there are a variety of triggers, such as arthritis, injury to the jaw, and even a genetic predisposition. One typical component is that people with TMJ tend to clench and/or grind. In some cases, the patient doesn’t even realize it is happening. They may only become aware after being interviewed by their dentist as he plays detective. They may come to the conclusion that a patient’s teeth have been wearing away the enamel at a higher rate than is typical, which may clue him in. There may even be damage in teeth, cracks or chips, that are symptoms of the disorder. To know what to look for we have made the following list:

TMJ: What to Look Out For

-Muscle soreness in the jaw
-Problems chewing normally
-Pain or tenderness in the Jaw
-Pain in the joint where the jaw connects to the skull
-Ear ache or pain around the ear.
-Grinding and clenching of the teeth and jaw
-Jaw locking if the joint making it difficult to open or close the mouth
-Hearing a popping sound when chewing

If you need an evaluation for TMJ, Dr. Gary Wegmann would be happy to help you. Please contact The Chicago Family Dental Center to make an appointment at: 312.551.0500, or come by our office in Chicago, Illinois.