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A Deeper Look Into TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder causes pain in your jaw joint or in the muscles that control your jaw movement. TMJ disorder can be caused by a wide variety of factors including genetics, jaw injuries, arthritis, or even grinding your teeth in your sleep. Chances are, if you have been affected by TMJ disorder, you feel the painful symptoms of this disorder every time you eat, yawn, or even open your mouth. For most people affected by this disorder, the pain is temporary and can be managed through nonsurgical treatments from expert dentists. If you suffer from TMJ Disorder or any jaw or tooth pain, come into the orthodontia specialists here at Gruelle Dempsey Orthodontics.

Symptoms

TMJ disorder comes in a wide variety of levels of severity, and symptoms can vary wildly from case to case. Your temporomandibular joint acts like the hinge of your mouth, connecting your jaw bone to your skull. The joint connects directly in front of your ears, and much of the pain and symptoms associated with TMJ disorder is experienced in this area. Symptoms of TMJ disorder can include:

  • Noticeable facial pain
  • Difficulty opening and closing your mouth
  • Locking of your jaw joint
  • Aching ear pain
  • Tenderness and pain in your jaw
  • Temporomandibular joint pain

You may also experience a clicking sound or a grating feeling while you chew or open your mouth. If this symptom is not accompanied by any pain, you most likely don’t need any treatment. If you are experiencing any pain other than the symptoms listed above make sure that you come into our office to have one of our dental specialists help you become pain-free today.

Causes

TMJ disorder is usually caused by the deterioration of the cartilage or the small shock-absorbing disk that makes up the temporomandibular joint. Various types of arthritis, long-term grinding of your teeth or clenching your jaw, connective tissue diseases and more can cause this deterioration of your temporomandibular joint. A blow or an impact directly to your jaw can also cause the pain associated with TMJ. There can be many other underlying causes of TMJ disorder that can cause pain and discomfort in your jaw.

Treatments

In order to receive treatment for your TMJ disorder, your dentist or orthodontist will need to diagnose the severity of your pain. Our dental specialists first listen to and feel your jaw when you open and close your mouth to assess the severity of the clicking or grinding of your jaw. We will then check the overall range of motion of your jaw and identify potential sites of pain. If we suspect that you may have a larger issue, we will then move on to X-rays, CT scans, or an MRI depending on the area of pain.

Once we have diagnosed the severity of your TMJ disorder we will recommend one of three potential treatment plans. For mid to low-level pain, medications such as pain relievers and anti-inflammatories will work efficiently. Therapies such as oral splints or mouth guards, physical therapy and counseling can also help immensely without the use of regular medication. If your TMJ disorder has advanced to a critical point, we may suggest a surgical solution.

Here at Gruelle Dempsey Orthodontics, we know that TMJ disorder can cause crippling pain. Don’t go another day dealing with the pain caused by TMJ disorder. Come into our office today to get a free consultation from our orthodontic experts.