What You Need to Know About TMJ

Temporomandibular joint disorder, often referred to as TMJ, is a condition that affects the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. It can cause discomfort, pain, and limited jaw movement. If you’re experiencing symptoms of TMJ, understanding its causes, symptoms, and how a dentist can help is essential. Let’s learn more about this disorder.

What Are the Signs of TMJ Disorder?

One of the earliest signs of TMJ disorder is clicking in the temporomandibular joint when you eat, yawn, or speak. The clicking may be faint at first, but it will be more noticeable over time. Another sign is painful movement.

TMJ disorder can make opening your mouth and chewing difficult. It can be a sign of TMJ disorder if you are experiencing discomfort in your jaw area whenever you move your mouth. Dentists will use diagnostic tools to confirm whether you have TMJ disorder.

What Causes TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorder can be caused by a variety of factors. Some potential causes of TMJ disorder include teeth grinding (bruxism), misalignment of the jaw, arthritis, or injury to the jaw joint. In some cases, the cause of TMJ disorder remains a complete mystery.

A dentist can accurately diagnose the cause and design a treatment plan. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, about ten million Americans suffer from this disorder. A dentist can help you to find a solution so you don’t have to.

Treatment Options

Your dentist will evaluate your TMJ disorder and offer treatment options based on those findings. Some options are very conservative and non-invasive. For example, if you have bruxism and grind your teeth in your sleep (many people do), you may be fitted with a mouthguard or dental splint to prevent grinding and clenching.

Your dentist may suggest physical therapy to correct the problem. If the cause is a jaw misalignment, your dentist will refer you to an orthodontist who can repair the misalignment. You may need surgical intervention if the misalignment is severe.

Living with pain and discomfort is not something you have to do. There is help available. If you suspect you have TMJ disorder, make an appointment for an evaluation. Our team at Orion Lakes Family Dentistry will provide a comprehensive exam and develop a personalized treatment plan for your lifestyle. Call today to make your appointment.

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