Are Stressful Times a Pain in the Jaw?

September 20, 2020
Avatar for Kelley MingusKelley Mingus

There’s no doubt that 2020 has been a stressful year so far. From the COVID-19 pandemic to really anything on the news right now, it’s natural to be stressed out and tense. Unfortunately, all that stress and tension can take a toll on our mental and physical health, and manifest itself in ways we may not realize. One such way is in our temporomandibular joint.

The temporomandibular joint is the joint which connects the jaw to the skull. When stressed out, we often clench our jaw or grind our teeth without realizing it. This puts tension on the temporomandibular joint, causing it to become misaligned. This creates a condition known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or TMJ dysfunction for short.

So, how do you know if you are experiencing TMJ dysfunction or related pain? It’s not just in your jaw. While jaw pain and stiffness is a key indicator of TMJ dysfunction, you may also experience radiating tension headaches, tinnitus (ringing of the ears), neck pain, back pain, or even bruxism (grinding teeth).

You may have heard of TMJ dysfunction before, as it is not only caused by stress, but can also be caused by genetics and by injury as well.

Thankfully, if you are experiencing TMJ dysfunction pain, there is treatment available.

If you are grinding your teeth, for example, you can be fitted for a custom bite guard which will lessen the impact of your teeth grinding into each other. Teeth grinding may not seem like that big of a deal, but your teeth exert so much pressure they can actually damage each other when you grind them.

Another solution to TMJ dysfunction is a customized treatment plan with Dr. Mingus. Whether it involves a bite guard, facial growth orthodontics, jaw exercises or any combination of the three, Dr. Mingus uses many techniques to help correct TMJ dysfunction based on your individual needs. For more severe cases, you may even consider full mouth rehabilitation, which not only corrects TMJ dysfunction, but repairs any damage it may have caused and any other issues your mouth may be having whether related or unrelated to your TMJ dysfunction.

To learn more about your TMJ Dysfunction options, please contact Dr. Mingus at 541-382-6565.