What is TMJ disorder & how do I prevent it?

There are a few questions that we first need to ask to determine if you have TMJ (Temporoandibular Joint Disorder):

- Do you often suffer from headaches, migraines or jaw pain?
- Does your jaw make a popping or clicking sound when you open it?

If you regularly notice any of the above symptoms, you may have TMJ without even knowing it. In fact, TMJ is actually one of the most commonly diagnosed jaw disorders which affects millions of people around the world, but many people don’t even know that they are suffering from it as it has never been properly diagnosed.

TMJ disorder is linked to the two jaw joints located in front of your ears that allow your upper and lower jaws to open and close. When it comes to supporting your mouth, these joints carry a big work load, such as helping you with eating, talking, laughing and the occasional yawning.

If you’re experiencing certain types of pain or discomfort in your neck, head or jaw, it may be a sign that your temporomandibular joint is aggravated. In fact, stress is believed to be a major contributor to TMJ disorder. If you often clench or grind your teeth, you may be overusing your jaw muscles, which can promote this disorder.

Please note that not every aches or pains can be attributed to TMJ, but it is useful to be aware of some of the most common signs or symptoms of this disorder, here is a list to identify the possible links:

  • Migraines
  • Chronic Headaches
  • Facial Pain
  • Clicking or Popping Sounds when opening your mouth or chewing
  • Neck Aches
  • Difficulty Opening and Closing the Mouth

What can cause Temporoandibular Joint Disorder?

Different factors can cause or lead to TMJ, which can be:

  • Arthritis
  • Genetics
  • Jaw Injury
  • Severe Snoring
  • An Imbalanced Bite
  • How your teeth fit together, such as when the upper and lower teeth do not properly close together. This may be due to having an overbite or underbite, or because of an injury.

How TMJ Disorder is diagnosed?

Because there are many different types of causes and symptoms that can be linked to TMJ, getting an accurate and thorough diagnosis is imperative to finding the proper treatment. While there currently is no standard test to correctly identify TMJ, there are some things that our dentist will look and examine for, such as a simple examination of your face and jaw, as well as getting a good description of your symptoms and a better understanding of your complete medical history.

Depending on your symptoms, we may also take x-rays and make a cast of your teeth to see how your bite fits together, and/or request an X-ray of your Temporoandibular joints.

How TMJ Disorder is treated?

In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders can be relieved by reducing the amount of wear and tear to the joint. This can usually be done with self-managed care or nonsurgical dental treatments.

Some treatments for TMJ may include the following:

  • Botox Dental Therapy
  • Pain Medication
  • Practicing Gentle Jaw Stretching Exercises or Muscle Relaxation Therapy
  • Fix Poorly Aligned Teeth
  • Night Guards to prevent teeth grinding

When would Oral Surgery considered?

Oral surgery is only considered after conservative measures have failed, but some people with TMJ disorders may benefit from surgical treatments.

If you are experiencing regularly any of the above mentioned symptoms  that is disrupting your life, then it is recommended to schedule a consultation with us and our dentists will properly examine you for TMJ disorder and develop a treatment plan that will work for you by reducing or eliminating the TMJ symptoms.

 

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