Do you find that your face and jaw hurt? Perhaps you experience jaw pain when you eat. Whatever your specific pain symptoms might be, it is important to know that jaw pain is not a normal occurrence. In fact, experiencing jaw pain could be a symptom of other problems such as TMJ disorder or occlusal issues. If you have jaw and/or facial pain, be sure to bring these symptoms to the attention of your dentist. If our team finds that your symptoms are caused by TMJ dysfunction, we will develop a TMJ disorder treatment plan tailored to your unique needs.
What is the TMJ?
The TMJ is a very important joint in oral and facial anatomy. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) facilitates all mouth movement by connecting to the skull and the lower mandible (jaw). In healthy patients, the TMJ will function without hiccup. People can open and close their mouths, eat, and speak without incident. Unfortunately, however, if the TMJ dysfunctions, a person can experience debilitating orofacial pain and diminished mouth movement.
What causes TMJ disorder?
Many things can contribute to TMJ disorder symptoms. Sometimes TMJ dysfunction is the result of a malocclusion (an improper bite). If the jaws and teeth do not line up properly during oral function, it can strain the TMJ and its supportive structures like ligaments and muscles. Worn dentition contributes to TMJ disorder because of occlusal issues as well. Other contributors to this condition include congenital and developmental abnormalities, stress, and bruxism. Sometimes the TMJ can dysfunction after developing damage from facial trauma.
What are typical symptoms of TMJ dysfunction?
Symptoms of TMJ disorder can vary but there are some very common symptoms and sensations one with TMJ disorder might have:
- Popping and clicking sounds/sensations during mouth movement
- Difficulty moving the mouth when eating or speaking
- Tooth wear
- Facial Pain
What are my options for treatment?
TMJ disorder treatment can be as varied as the underlying causes of this condition. Some patients respond well to stress reduction techniques and therapeutic massage. Other patients might require restorations to rebuild their bites. Treatment can also include the use of oral appliances to relieve strain on the TMJ or oral surgery.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, call us today at DeSanti Family Dentistry.