The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull and is what allows you to open and close your mouth. This joint is also responsible for allowing you to chew and speak normally.
When this joint is misaligned or injured in some way, this is known as Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction or TMD. People with this condition may experience clicking in the jaw when opening or closing the mouth, chronic headaches, pain in the face and neck locking of the jaw, and difficulty chewing.
The symptoms of TMJ disorder range from mild to severe, and patients can experience a variety of symptoms, including jaw pain, ear aches, headaches, difficulty chewing or speaking, and limited movement in the affected joint. The most common cause of TMJ disorder is structural problems with the teeth and the bite that force the jaw joints out of their natural position. This can result from misaligned bites or missing teeth and can cause painful muscle spasms in the jaw. TMD can also be caused by arthritis of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or by trauma to the face.
There are many potential causes for temporomandibular joint disorder, but the most common reason is stress. Many people experience major life changes, such as divorce and losing a job, which can place a lot of stress on individuals and cause symptoms of TMD. Other common reasons include arthritis in the jaw, injuries to the head or neck, bruxism, poor posture, and certain medical conditions like fibromyalgia and diabetes. Your dentist will be able to diagnose you with TMD and recommend treatments if necessary.
Fortunately, there are many things that you can do to alleviate the symptoms of TMJ disorder, such as applying ice packs or heat packs to the jaw area or taking over-the-counter pain relievers. You can also treat your jaw muscles with massage to release tension and reduce the buildup of scar tissue. This can include a program of stretches and exercises that will help the muscles to relax. In some cases, the dentist may also suggest wearing a splint at night to keep the mouth properly aligned while resting. Some patients may also be issued anti-inflammatory drugs to help treat the pain and inflammation around the affected joint.
When you come in for your regular checkups and cleanings, we’ll also check to ensure your teeth are properly aligned and that there are no issues with your bite that could be contributing to your discomfort. If we find that there is an underlying cause of your TMJ disorder, we can discuss treatment options to bring relief.
Hollander Dental Associates, located in Carlsbad, CA, is equipped with the best dentists and modern technologies that enable the best dental care facilities for patients. Call us at (760) 434-2526 and schedule an appointment with the dentist in Carlsbad, CA, to learn more about dental treatments.