June 01, 2001
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts June 2001 Current Issue
June 2001
Short Cuts:

Jaw-dropping pain

More than 10 million people in the United States suffer from temporomandibular joint disease, commonly known as TMJ or TMD. Yet, TMJ remains an unsolved mystery, with experts disagreeing over everything from symptoms to causes to cures.

Radiating pain in the face, neck or shoulders; a painful clicking of the jaw joint; limited movement or locking of the jaw, and misalignment of the lower and upper teeth are among typical symptoms.

Beyond a severe blow to the jaw, causes of TMJ are debatable. A displaced disk in the jaw can be the root of some problems. A number of experts believe stress, either mental or physical, can cause or aggravate TMJ.

The good news: It generally goes away with little or no treatment. Eating soft foods, applying heat or ice packs, and avoiding “extreme jaw movements” like loud singing and gum chewing can ease symptoms, according to a report by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. For the full report, go to www.nidcr.nih.gov/news/pubs/tmd/menu.htm.


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