TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint, and it is a hinge that joins your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull. This joint allows you to move your jaw side to side and up and down, and facilitates chewing, talking, and yawning. In some cases, there can be a problem with this joint that is referred to as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMD.
Causes of TMJ Disorder
The primary cause of TMJ disorder is problems with the jaw muscles or the joint. Injuries to the jaw, neck, and head can lead to TMJ Disorder. Common causes of TMJ Disorder include whiplash, clenching or grinding of teeth, arthritis pain, and stress that might cause clenching and tightening of facial muscles or the jaw.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
TMJ disorder can be quite painful and cause a large amount of discomfort. Some of the common symptoms include difficulty opening the mouth, jaws that get stuck open or closed, a clicking or popping sound while moving the mouth or chewing, or tenderness and pain in the face, neck, jaw, and around the ear. Other symptoms that someone with TMJ disorder might experience are headaches, toothaches, dizziness, ringing in the ear, and upper shoulder pain.
It is essential to seek assistance from a dental expert to treat the TMJ disorder. Here is how a dentist can help you:
- Over-the-counter-drugs: Dentists will prescribe the medications to soothe the dental swelling and pain. He might also suggest you relax the muscles by avoiding the clenching or grinding of the teeth.
- Nightguard or splint: It is one of the most recommended TMJ treatments by dentists as a plastic mouthpiece is fit over the lower and upper teeth so that they don’t touch each other. It minimizes the effect of grinding or clenching and helps in improving the bite.
- Dental work: The dentist might replace missing teeth or use bridges or crowns to balance the biting surface of the teeth and correct any bite problems. Only in severe cases are dental surgeries suggested.
If case you are experiencing TMJ problems, contact us and we will guide you through this dental treatment process and answer all your concerns.