The term TMJ (which stands for temporomandibular joint) disorder encompasses a collection of jaw issues that cause symptoms like pain and locking of the jaw.
Fortunately, patients don’t need to suffer endlessly due to this condition. Effective TMJ disorder treatment is available, and the condition can often be addressed with conservative interventions.
Patients who suspect they have TMJ disorder should consult with a dentist to learn more about their options.
Causes And Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
Your jaw is one of the most complex joints in your body. Consisting of the maxilla and mandible, and the numerous muscles, tendons, discs and other structures that facilitate movement in multiple directions, the jaw has multiple components that can malfunction and cause a TMJ disorder.
For example, emotional stress can cause you to clench or grind your teeth, putting excess tension on the muscles surrounding your jaw. A disc in the joint can be damaged due to trauma. The jaw’s development may cause malocclusions that put the entire joint under strain. These are just a few examples of the conditions that can cause TMJ disorders.
It’s important to be aware of the signs of a jaw problem so that you can seek treatment. Symptoms of TMJ disorders include:
- Pain in the jaw
- Pain that radiates to the face, neck or ear
- Difficulty chewing
- Locking of the jaw
- Popping or clicking sounds in the jaw
Patients who are experiencing any signs of TMJ disorders should schedule an evaluation with a dentist to confirm the diagnosis and get information about possible treatment.
TMJ Disorder Treatment: Oral Appliance Therapy
TMJ disorder treatment doesn’t necessarily need to be complicated or invasive. Many patients get symptom relief from oral appliance therapy.
With this approach, the patient is fitted with a custom-designed oral appliance, which may also be called a splint or bite guard. The appliance prevents the teeth from contacting each other. Your dentist may instruct you to wear the appliance 24 hours a day for a finite period or to wear the appliance during sleep.
Other complementary treatments such as massage, jaw exercises or stress management techniques may help to make oral appliance therapy even more effective.
For patients who don’t respond to oral appliance therapy, other interventions such as orthodontic treatment or surgery may be considered.
If you are interested in pursuing your options for relieving TMJ disorder symptoms, schedule an evaluation at DeSanti Family Dentistry. We’ll thoroughly assess your case and make recommendations about the best treatment option for you.