TMJ Disorders and Pain
The joint that connects the jawbone to the skull is called the temporomandibular joint or TMJ. It is located between the upper teeth and ear and consists of two joints: the mandibular joint and the temporomandibular joint.
Talking and chewing, and moving your mouth, are all possible because the temporomandibular joint allows the lower jaw to move at different angles. When the joint feels extremely sensitive and causes discomfort, TMJ may be the cause. At LakeView Family Dental, we can help with a diagnosis and find relief from a possible TMJ disorder.
What Is a TMJ Disorder?
There is no single cause of a TMJ disorder. But an issue with TMJ may be the cause behind earaches, sinus pain, headaches, and sensitivity to your back teeth. Because muscles, nerves, and ligaments surrounding the TMJ are connected, whenever the jaw joint is sore or inflamed, it causes strong facial pain and can affect your quality of life.
In certain situations, the symptoms of TMJ disorders can go away on their own. It may have been a temporary issue, and the joint and surrounding muscles, tissues, and nerves have healed. With a chronic TMJ issue, if symptoms have suddenly gone, it may mean your body has simply adapted to the joint disorder and masked the problem.
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
TMJ pain is caused by several sources. The risk of developing temporomandibular joint disorder increases with a rise in sensitivity to pain or you’re under a lot of stress. Some of the causes of TMJ or TMD include:
- Tooth loss or bad teeth: Missing, chipped, or broken teeth can cause uneven chewing and biting, which places extreme stress on the jaw.
- Teeth grinding or bruxism: Some folks clench their jaw or grind their teeth at night while sleeping. Clenching and grinding place enormous pressure on the joint, and the result is the acceleration of uneven wear on the teeth or inflammation.
- Dislocation of the disk: The articular or TMJ disk lies between the jawbone or mandible and the socket of the jaw. The articular disk can become dislocated, displaced, and damaged, causing chronic pain.
- Arthritis of the temporomandibular joint.
- Stress: Issues with closing and opening the jaw accompanied by pain can be stress-related.
- Trauma: Injuries as a result of accidents to the jaw can initiate TMJ pain.
- Poor posture: Strain from sitting at a computer all day or improperly standing all day.
What Are the Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?
- Frequent headaches or neck pain
- A painful bite
- Facial pain
- Pain radiating along the jaw, neck or shoulders
- Mouth motions are limited.
- Sensitive teeth
- The upper and lower teeth don’t fit together.
- Clicking or popping from the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth.
- Issues with chewing
- Pressure or pain spreading behind the eyes
- Discomfort or locking of the jaw joint
- Tingling or numbness in the fingers.
- Chronic headaches or migraines
It’s not unusual that TMJ symptoms may mimic other health conditions. Always speak to your dentist and a healthcare provider about your symptoms for a complete diagnosis and a treatment plan.
What Treatments are Available for TMJ?
LakeView Family Dental offers a thorough TMJ evaluation to find the cause behind your pain and discomfort. Since no two patients are alike; the result of your exam determines the best course of specialized TMJ treatment options. TMJ therapy can include physical therapy, oral splints, medications or a combination of all three options.
- Physical therapy: TMJ discomfort comes with muscle aches and pains around the neck and head. To alleviate this symptom, warm and cold compresses and exercises that specialize in stretching and strengthening the muscles in the area help. The best way to determine if physical therapy will help is through an exam.
- Medications: Over-the-counter medications and prescriptions can ease some of the pain brought on by TMJ. Your TMJ treatment plan may include steroids, relaxants, anti-inflammatories, and anesthetics if the diagnosis is severe.
- Oral Application/oral splints: An oral splint is like a mouthguard or night guard. It can be worn over the upper or lower teeth to create a better fit for the jaw joints. Sometimes the source of TMJ pain may be a traumatic accident. In those cases, a temporary splint can help even out a misaligned bite while joints heal.
- Other cases may require wearing a more permanent splint for a longer time.
TMJ Treatment Plan
Our team at LakeView Family Dental specializes in custom treatment for TMJ. Immediate relief is available, and it all starts with a consultation with our TMJ disorder specialist. In the consult, they’ll discuss and review symptoms and then offer a diagnosis of the cause behind your TMJ disorder. Depending on the severity of the disorder, they’ll recommend the right treatment to get you back on track.