It’s well known that the younger generations (millennials) are sleeping less than previous generations, and at the same time are experiencing a lot of stress.
Both these issues come with side effects, and whilst they manifest themselves differently, depending on the individual, it is not uncommon for heightened levels of stress and anxiety are manifesting themselves physically, in their jaws.
Temporomandibular joint disorder, more commonly known as TMJ, TMJD, or TMD, is a problem with the hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull. This hinge helps control two of our most valued functions — talking and eating.
TMJ can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement. According to Mayo Clinic, jaw pain may be due to a combination of factors, such as genetics, arthritis or jaw injury. Some people who experience jaw pain also tend to clench or grind their teeth (aka bruxism), although many people habitually clench or grind their teeth and never develop the disorders.
Symptoms tend to present as jaw or tooth pain, difficulty opening your mouth, popping and clicking noises, as well as headaches, pain under your eyes, and discomfort down the neck and shoulders (among other things).
Many dentists are concluding that an increase in TMJ diagnoses is directly related to increased stress and decreased sleep, though there are many other factors that may be causing the jaw tension.
In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders is temporary and can be relieved with a self-managed care plan or nonsurgical treatments which include wearing a mouthguard (such as the F.O.S. splint), physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxers, stretching and massage or acupuncture, among others.