As cool sounding diseases or disorders that don’t kill you go, I think I have found my most favorite. What is exciting is that I have it. It is called Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD).
The way I test whether a word or a name is cool is by breaking it into two and saying it this way: “The name is Bond, James Bond” or just “Bond, (cool pause), James Bond.”
“Mandibular (cool pause), Temporo Mendibular.” That works for me.
This disorder is likely when your jaws make a crunching sound as you chew or yawn or even talk. The clicking/crunching sound has been going on for a while but I truly discovered it yesterday while yawning. Every yawn was accompanied by this distinct crunching sound on the left side of my face. They make that sound even when I am thinking. It was as if my jaws were grinding remnants of useless thoughts. It is not painful yet but there is distinct discomfort. It feels as if your jaws are slowly pulverizing themselves.
I searched “crunching jaw sound” and found what I think is the perfect diagnosis. It came up on the website of the Canadian Dental Association. This is how the site explains it:
TMD (temporomandibular disorder)
The jaw joints and groups of muscles that let us chew, swallow, speak and yawn are known as the temporomandibular. When there’s a problem with how the joints and muscles work, you may have a temporomandibular disorder or TMD.
The symptoms of TMDs are:
- tender or sore jaw muscles. Your jaw may be even more painful when you wake up, clench your teeth, chew your food or yawn.
- problems opening or closing your mouth. It may be hard to open or close your jaws all the way, or your jaws may lock open or closed.
- headaches that you cannot explain. You may also feel pain in your neck. These may be caused by TMD, or by other problems. Tell your dentist AND your doctor.
- a clicking or grinding noise when you chew or yawn. You may hear strange noises in your jaw joints, such as clicking or popping when you open your mouth, or crunching and grinding sounds when you chew.
Cause and Effect
The cause of TMD is not always clear, but in most cases stress is a major factor. Here are some of the things that MAY cause it:
- clenching and grinding your teeth. Clenching your jaw muscles can cause them to ache. Some people grind their teeth or clench their jaw muscles when they are under stress.
- injury to your face or jaws. Broken (or fractured) jaws, a jaw joint that has been knocked out of place (or dislocated) and "whiplash" may cause TMD.
- some diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, may affect the jaw joints and muscles.
- if your jaw does not grow the right way, your teeth may not line up the way they should. This can make it hard to bite and chew, and may lead to TMD.
Other things that MAY lead to TMD are:
- worn, loose, or missing teeth
- gum problems
- partial or full dentures that are not the right fit
- habits such as biting on your pen or pencil
Now that I have read that “stress is a major factor” behind TMD and clenching or grinding one’s teeth can cause it, I realize that I may be clenching and grinding a lot unconsciously. Reflecting over what might be causing it, it seems I clench and grind most when I am answering calls from creditors. The other day one such caller said my line was not good because she was getting a lot of static. Looking back it was not the static but my clenching and grinding. The lesson here is that do not get into debts. They cause TMD.
The expression I can hear myself thinking has a rational explanation now because it actually makes a grinding sound.