What is a TMJ Disorder and What You Can Do

TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joints, which are joints that open and close your mouth. They work in tandem with muscles to help you chew, speak, swallow, and control the lower jaw. Each TMJ has a disc between the ball and socket. This disc protects the muscles while they open, rotate, and close. Any problem that prevents this system of muscles, joints, bones, and ligaments from working correctly may result in a serious and painful TMJ disorder.

There are several aspects that may cause a TMJ disorder including:

  • Injury
  • Dislocation
  • Arthritis
  • Tooth and jaw alignment problems
  • Clenching and/or grinding teeth

Symptoms of TMJ disorders include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joints, or in and around the ear when you speak, chew, or open your mouth.
  • Jaw being locked open or closed
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in your jaw joint
  • Trouble chewing
  • Swelling on the side of your face
  • Toothache, headaches, ear pain, or neck pain

It is possible for symptoms of TMJ disorders to go away without treatment. When they do not, there are several therapy options for treating TMJ disorders.

Self-Care Practices: Eat soft foods, apply heat, practice gentle jaw stretching exercises

Medications: Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can provide pain relief temporarily.

Prescriptions such as muscle relaxants may also relieve symptoms.

Stabilization Splints: A dentist can fabricate a night guard that fits over upper teeth to ease pain and pressure.

Surgery: Surgical treatments can remove scar tissue, reshape the jawbone, tighten the joints, and insert an anti-inflammatory medicine.

Implants: Jaw joints are replaced with artificial implants to restore functionality; this treatment is reserved for people with severe, late-stage deterioration in the joints.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of TMJ disorders, please call Pine Tree Dental Care to discuss your pain and possible TMJ therapy treatments. Each member of our team is dedicated to making your experience with us as pleasing and peaceful as possible. We look forward to giving you the best dental care available.