TMJ disorders describe persistent complications that occur within or around a person’s jaw. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, and while many people mistakenly refer to problems with the joint as TMJ, the correct term for the issue is temporomandibular disorder (TMD).
The disorder essentially means that the connection between your upper and lower jaw isn’t functioning as it should.
Knowing whether you suffer from TMJ disorder isn’t always obvious, as the complication can exhibit in a variety of ways, from mild irritation to excruciating pain. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should have your dentist check you for TMD:
- A clicking noise upon opening or closing your mouth
- Aches or pressure in the ear, head, teeth, or behind your eyes
- Sore jaw muscles
Causes of TMJ Disorder
Detecting the exact reason patients have TMD is challenging, but there are some known factors that commonly contribute to the occurrence of TMJ disorders:
- Teeth clenching and grinding due to high-stress levels or overactivity of the jaw muscles during sleep
- Injuries sustained in the joints, neck, jaw, or head
- Previously existing health conditions such as arthritis
Treating TMJ Disorder
There are plenty of non-invasive options to manage symptoms of TMD:
Wearing a mouthguard at night can lessen the effects of teeth grinding. Your dentist can provide you with a custom-fit night guard for optimal comfort and the highest level of protection.
Injecting BOTOX® into the masseter muscle will result in temporary mild paralysis, helping your jaw relax. This treatment is especially effective for patients whose TMD occurs by clenching or grinding of their teeth.
There are a few at-home methods you can use to reduce the pain associated with TMJ disorders. Stress reduction, mild pain relievers, and using hot and cold compresses may subside symptoms of TMD. You can also perform specific jaw exercises to alleviate discomfort.
TMJ disorders are incredibly common, affecting an estimated 10 million+ of Americans. If you’re one of the many people who suffer from TMD, Dentistry at East Piedmont can help find the right solution to your jaw issues. Contact our Marietta dental practice today to resolve your TMJ-related pain!