25 Nov Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
TMJ disorder is a common affliction that varies in severity. For some people, TMJ disorder is just an annoyance and for others, it’s devastating. This condition involves a dysfunctional or damaged temporomandibular joint, which is located on each side of the face just underneath the earlobes. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the lower jaw to the skull and with the help of facial muscles and tendons, the joint facilitates all mouth movement. When the TMJ dysfunctions or is damaged, patients can experience side effects that range from minor facial pain to debilitating discomfort. Sometimes, patients may experience clicking or popping sensations when opening or closing the mouth as well as frequent headaches. Those with severe TMJ disorder may benefit from consulting with our oral surgeons to determine treatment options when general dentistry and orthodontics is not enough.
Causes of TMJ Disorder
TMJ disorder can be caused by a few different factors. Common contributors to this condition include tooth wear—specifically tooth wear caused by teeth grinding and clenching. Teeth grinding and clenching (also known as bruxism) is a particularly destructive habit that puts strain on the TMJ and affects a patient’s occlusion by wearing down teeth. Other causes of TMJ dysfunction include traumatic facial injuries and congenital or developmental defects that affect the joint or the jaw itself.
Treating TMJ Dysfunction
Like the symptoms of TMJ disorder, treatment options can vary. The first step to treating this condition is determining its underlying cause. Sometimes, mild TMJ dysfunction can be rectified with stress reduction techniques and therapeutic massage. If TMJ disorder was caused by bruxism or tooth wear, a dentist may place restorations to restore the occlusion and prescribe custom mouth guards to protect teeth during sleep. Severe TMJ dysfunction – especially caused by damage to the jaws or joint – may require oral surgery to correct the placement of the jaws or repair joint damage.
To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled oral surgeons, contact us at Commonwealth OFS today.