Your mouth should open when you want it to…
You are at a dinner party, having a wonderful time with friends and making new ones. You sit down to begin enjoying the delicious meal and you suddenly realize that you can’t open your mouth... leaving you helpless and embarrassed.
If you suffer from TMJ, the opening your mouth fully or widely can be limited. Why? Your jaw muscles are tender, stiff an may begin to spasm. Or the disc located in your jaw gets ‘stuck’ in a position that prevents proper jaw joint functioning. Either way, a mouth that is restricted in opening and closing is obviously going to affect you physically, socially, emotionally and let’s not forget being passed up for the next dinner party.
- Q: What’s the most frequently used joint in your body?
- A: Wrong. It’s not your knee. Wrong again, it’s not your ankle. It’s your TMJ.
Think about it for a moment! Every time you talk, chew, swallow, sing, yawn – you are using your jaw joint. It’s one of the most important joints in your body, but probably the least appreciated. Breathing, eating, drinking – all of them are impossible without healthy and properly functioning jaws.
Snap, crackle, pop. Great for cereal.
Not so great for your jaw…
Clicking, cracking and popping in your jaw joint is one of the most common indicators of TMJ, along with pain. In some cases, the cracking is so loud, others can hear it when you chew or talk.
This terrible sound coming from your mouth is caused by a displaced disc located in your jaw. A healthy and normal TMJ is smooth and quiet when it’s functioning properly. Clicking, popping and cracking are indicators that your jaw joint is unstable and a signal that these symptoms should be checked.
Something just doesn’t fit . . .
Remember when you were a child and you had to fit all the shapes into their corresponding cut-out? The square was not going to fit into the circle, no matter how hard you tried. The same holds true for your jaw. There is only one correct way your upper and lower jaw can fit together. Any other variation just doesn’t work.
A proper, balanced bite will ensure your jaw stays healthy and in proper position. An imbalanced bite stresses and strains the jaw, creating problems in the joints, muscles, nerves and all their related functions.
Form and functionality – they both count
With so many basic functions (chewing, swallowing, breathing, talking, drinking) relying on a healthy and properly functioning TMJ,get checked by your dentist if you experience cracking, popping, limited movement or overall functionality problems.
If taken care at an early stage, more significant problems can be prevented down the road.