TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint, and it is a hinge that joins your jaw to the temporal bones of the skull. This joint allows you to move your jaw side to side and up and down so that you can chew, talk or yawn conveniently. In some cases, there can be problem with the facial muscles and jaw that controls the problem are called the temporomandibular disorder or the temporomandibular joint disorder.
Causes of TMJ Disorder
The primary cause of TMJ disorder is problems with the jaw muscles or the joint. Injury to the joint or jaw or the muscles of the neck and head can lead to a TMJ disorder. Damage to the joint or jaw of the muscles of the neck and head because of a heavy whiplash can lead to the TMJ disorder. Some other causes of the TMJ disorder are:
- Clenching or grinding of teeth that put immense pressure on the joint
- Movement of the disc or cushion between the socket and ball of the joint
- Arthritis pain in the joint
- Stress that might cause tightening of the jaw or facial muscles or clenching of the teeth
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
TMJ disorder can be quite painful and cause a large amount of discomfort. Some of the common symptoms include:
- Tenderness and pain in the face, neck, jaw joint and in and around the ear
- Difficulty opening the mouth
- Jaws that get locked or stuck in the closed or open mouth position
- A clicking, popping or grating sound while opening or closing the mouth or when chewing
Some other symptoms that someone with TMJ disorder might experience are a headache, toothache, dizziness, ringing in the ear, upper shoulder pain, etc.
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.
- Night guard 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. In most cases, it will solve TMJ problems. Only in severe case, dental surgeries are suggested.
In case you are also experiencing TMJ problems, contact us and we will guide you through this dental treatment process and answer all your concerns.