Chronic pain, headaches, clicking or popping sensations in the jaw, and other symptoms may be caused by temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ. Located between the upper and lower jaw, the temporomandibular joint can be the cause of debilitating pain which can radiate to other parts of the body, ultimately having an effect on your livelihood. Here at Pomerado Cosmetic Dentistry, our experienced dentists offer treatments for TMJ Disorder that can significantly reduce the irritating symptoms of this common condition.
What causes TMJ Disorder?
The temporomandibular joint is used to help mobility of the jaw, such as when you chew, bite, yawn, and speak. TMJ Disorder can occur as the result of a number of issues, including arthritis, imbalance, teeth grinding or clenching, a breakdown of cartilage in the joint, a misaligned bite, and other factors. TMJ Disorder can also be caused by simple overuse of the joint.
What are some of the symptoms associated with TMJ Disorder?
Since many symptoms of TMJ Disorder do not seem related to the jaw joint, people are often not aware that they are suffering from the condition. Symptoms of TMJ Disorder include:
- Problems with chewing, swallowing, and/or biting
- Pain in the back, shoulder, and/or neck
- Facial pain
- Clicking or popping in the jaw
- Problems opening and closing the mouth
- Ringing in the ears
- Ear ache
- Numbness in the arms and/or fingers
What are some of the treatment options?
Fortunately, advances in neuromuscular dentistry have paved the way for many TMJ Disorder treatment options that can reduce the effects of the condition and minimize the symptoms. The goal is to prevent further wearing away of the cartilage and to alleviate pain and discomfort. Some TMJ Disorder treatments include:
- Oral appliances such as custom-designed night guards
- Bite-realignment appliances
- Restorative dentistry
- Oral surgery
- Jaw and bite therapies
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the TMJ Disorder test?
Before scheduling an appointment with our office, you may want to conduct a simple test to determine what seems to be affecting you. You can do this by opening your mouth slowly and wide, then closing and repeating these movements. Listen for any popping or clicking noises and try to take notice if your teeth come down on the right or left side first. When you schedule your appointment, you can discuss these details with our dentists and they will work to find an appropriate treatment option for you.
Do I have TMJ Disorder?
To know if you have TMJ Disorder you will need to be seen for an examination by one of our dentists. In this examination, our staff will be able to determine if your temporomandibular joint may be causing or exacerbating the issues you are experiencing. Some of these issues may include symptoms such as headaches, earaches, clicking or popping noises, ringing in your ears, or others that may not initially seem to be associated with a jaw condition. During the exam at our office, tests will be run to ensure your jaw is biting properly. X-rays may also be taken to see if there are structural disorders within the joint.
What happens if TMJ Disorder goes untreated?
Without treatment, it is very likely that TMJ Disorder symptoms will worsen over time. It is best to schedule an appointment with one of our dentists at your earliest convenience so they may find the source of your pain and explore treatment options.
What factors lead to TMJ Disorder?
In some cases, TMJ Disorder develops based on how your jaw is anatomically structured. It may be possible that muscles or scar tissue are interfering with your bite. These issues can cause discomfort or create facial pain when you chew, yawn, or speak. Sometimes, other causes of TMJ Disorder can be: infection, autoimmune disease, mental or physical stress, overuse of the joint, arthritis, or teeth grinding.
Are there ways to achieve temporary relief from TMJ Disorder?
There are a number of ways to help achieve temporary relief from TMJ Disorder. However, it is important to know that, without seeing a professional, you are limited to options that may provide only short-term relief. One common example for quick relief is applying hot and cold packs near the source of the pain to reduce discomfort. Oftentimes, limiting the consumption of foods that require intensive chewing can also be beneficial. These foods may include taffy, gum, carrots, and others that can make your jaw sore.
If you think you may be suffering from TMJ Disorder, please contact Pomerado Cosmetic Dentistry today. One of our dentists will be happy to meet with you for an evaluation and create a customized treatment plan for your specific needs.