Your temporomandibular joint (“TMJ” for short) is the joint where your jaw attaches to your skull right in front of your ears.
A TMJ disorder can lead to a number of problems, including headaches, uneven tooth wear, serious damage to the teeth, and other problems.
As such, you should avoid engaging in activities that can contribute to dysfunction of the TMJ.
When you have TMJ problems, some of the most immediate symptoms may include a clicking sound when you chew, a popping sensation when you open your mouth, earaches, and discomfort or even pain when you are chewing.
Rarely will TMJ trouble resolve itself with no action on your part. At a minimum you will need to explore ways to help rest your jaw muscles, and-depending on your specific situation-you may need other options such as preventive devices to wear while you sleep, muscle relaxers, and even surgery under extreme conditions.
Chewing Gum and Your TMJ
While there is nothing wrong with enjoying chewing gum, you should take care how you chew if you already have TMJ issues. While it is within the realm of possibility that chewing gum could contribute to the development of TMJ problems, it is more commonly the case that excessive gum chewing worsens already-existing TMJ issues.
Sometimes TMJ can be treated with ample rest of the jaw. If this is your situation, you will obviously want to limit your use of the jaw, and that means avoiding chewing gum. In addition, you may want to consult with us on other treatment options.
If you think you suffer from a TMJ disorder, please mention this to us during your next visit. We will be happy to review your situation and help you select the best treatment option.
Please contact us if you have any questions about TMJ disorder.