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Does Your Jaw Feel Uncomfortable?

Posted April. 09, 2007 07:17,   


Discomfort in the jaw joint usually comes from inflammation of the ligament, muscles, and joint. It is also caused by changes in the placement of soft bones within the jaw ligament. A person who is under constant stress or has bad habits can be subject to jaw joint problems.

When you have a jaw disorder, you tend to suffer common symptoms: you may not be able to open your mouth easily because your jaw hurts or your jaw makes a clicking noise. When it becomes serious, you are likely to have a headache, facial pain, and shoulder pain. Occasionally, unusual ear sounds, toothache, nausea, depression, and insomnia can be experienced as well.

Chronic stress results in muscle strain around your jaw joints. Fatigue damage accumulation causes inflammation or shifts the placement of the jaw joint disk. People who have bad bites, gnash their teeth, or find it difficult to chew foods due to gum defects are susceptible to jaw joint disorder.

Malocclusion, a condition in which the upper and lower teeth do not fit together, is also the most common reason for jaw disorder. Watching a computer screen too long with a bad posture puts pressure on the jaw, neck, and shoulder muscles, and ultimately changes the jaw joint disk.

There are various treatments for each type of such disorder.

When you have no pain but suffer from clicking sounds, you may not need to go a clinic immediately. However, if the clicking sound continues for a week, and a constant pain accompanies it, a combination of rest, medication, and physiotherapy is recommended. If you have any problem with the place and shape of the jaw joint disk, you should undergo an operation that puts in a mouthpiece and widens the places between joints.

If bad habits caused the disorder, botox, which paralyzes specific muscles to relax the muscles, may work. If it is serious, surgeons sometimes conduct bone transplant surgery or transform the placement of the jaw joint disk.

More importantly, good habits are most important to prevent jaw joint disorder.

Be cautious not to make clicking sounds on purpose or move your jaw left or right. Eating chewing gum, dried squid, tough meat, and hard beans is not recommended. When you yawn, you should support your jaw to prevent your mouth from opening too wide. Also, you should be very careful while biting solid fruits.

Since a bad bite leads to jaw joint disorder, people with such habits while exercising intensely or taking difficult tests should practice relaxing their jaw intentionally.

A bad bite frequently occurs during exercise of the upper part of the body. Thus, before such kinds of exercise, patients with jaw discomfort should wear a mouthpiece.

While you are sitting at desk, you need to keep your back and neck straight. Between work, stretching is preferable every 30 minutes or one hour at work. Breaking bad habits, such as cupping your chin in your hands, biting your nails, or chewing food with certain teeth, can prevent you from having jaw problems. Lying on your face at your desk may make put pressure on your jaw as well.

If you were shocked or had an accident to the extent that your jaw was wounded, you should visit a clinic to check if there is something wrong with your jaw joint. Visible scars can be treated, but there are chances that you may have problems with your joints.

Professor Lee Bu-kyu, Oral and Facial Surgery Department, Asan Medical Center, Korean Society for the Temporomandibular Joint Corp.