TMJ, also known as temporomandibular joint disorder, occurs when there is impairment with the joint connecting your upper and lower jaw. This joint allows you to move your lower jaw in a variety of positions, such as up and down and side to side. When there are issues with the joint, it can cause popping or clicking sounds or your jaw getting stuck. Doctors are still determining the exact cause of TMJ, but it’s believed to be caused by injury, genetics, or environmental factors like stress.
TMJ symptoms can vary from person to person so it can be difficult to know if you have TMJ. Your dentist can determine if you have TMJ with a complete diagnosis. This includes getting a complete overview of your dental and medical history as well X-rays to get an in-depth look of your oral tissues.
Common TMJ symptoms include:
- Difficulty opening your lower jaw, moving it forward or backward, or from side to side.
- Jaws that temporarily get locked or stuck.
- Popping or clicking sounds when opening or closing your mouth.
- Chronic headaches or migraines.
- Pain in your ears, neck, shoulders.
- Pain while yawning or chewing.
If it is determined that you have TMJ, your dentist will create a customized treatment plan to alleviate your symptoms. Recommend treatments can include:
- Relaxing the tense muscles by applying moist heat.
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers to help reduce pain.
- Wearing an oral appliance to protect your teeth from grinding and clenching. Because stress is a common contributor to TMJ, people who are stressed are more likely to grind or clench their teeth while sleeping, which can cause TMJ symptoms.
- Relaxation exercises to ease your tense jaw muscles.
- As a last resort, surgery may be recommended.
Dr. Patel & Dr. Gandhalikar, Trenton Dentist, is committed to helping you relieve your TMJ pain once and for all. Contact Trenton Dentistry to schedule an appointment with us today.