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Your TMJs, also called your temporomandibular joints, are sets of ball-and-socket joints on both sides of your face that provide for the movement of your mouth. With the help of a complex configuration of muscles, ligaments, discs and sockets, your jaw is able to move in an amazing array of angles for a variety of functions and benefits. However, due to the complex nature of the joints, they can easily be damaged.

Some common signs and symptoms include a limited range of jaw motion, pain in or around your ears, slight headaches, pain when opening and closing your mouth or a lack of being able to fully open and close it, and tender jaw muscles. If they become damaged, there are some treatment methods that can help.

To alleviate any pain, heat packs work well. If there is inflammation in your jaw, ice packs are the better choice. Oftentimes, you can alleviate pain by meditating and practicing mind-calming therapies. If the pain still won’t go away, consult your dentists for medications that might help.

Change your eating habits to accommodate your TMJ disorder. For example, any tough or chewy foods you eat could make it worse, so remove those from your diet, as well as chewing gum and other habits that may place undue stress on your jaw, including nail-biting.

Lastly, your TMJ disorder might be the underlying cause or symptom of another oral ailment such as sleep apnea or bruxism. If so, bite plates and nights guards worn while you sleep may help to relieve additional stress unknowingly placed on your jaw.

If you think you have a TMJ disorder, or if your jaw is giving you any sort of pain, please call DM Family Dentistry so we can get you in to see Dr. Madrigal, Dr. Jahedi, Dr. Nguyen, and our team as soon as possible. Our office is located in Chicago, Illinois, and we can be reached at 773.252.5757. We look forward to seeing you smile bright this season.