Anyone can get TMJ, but the disorder more often affects woman between the ages of 20 and 40. Regardless of your age or gender, this condition can be quite painful, but proper diagnosis and treatment can help significantly.
Your family dentist is your best source of information on this topic, but before you make an appointment, it’s worth it to learn more about the condition, its symptoms and the available treatment options.
What Is TMJ?
TMJ disorder is a malfunction of the temporomandibular joint, which connects your jaw to your skull. When it becomes inflamed, perhaps due to arthritis, injury or a physiological misalignment, the resulting symptoms can cause extreme discomfort.
Signs You May Need Treatment
The symptoms of TMJ disorder are widely varied. One of the most common is pain in the jaw or neck that is either constant or bothers you only when you chew, swallow or talk.
When you open your mouth up wide, which you may not even be able to do in certain cases, the joint might pop or lock into place. It could be extremely painful to close your mouth afterward. You also may have visible swelling in the jaw area.
Sometimes the discomfort associated with TMJ disorder spreads. You may feel tense in your shoulders and begin to hear a ringing in your ears. You could become dizzy due to pressure and inflammation around your eardrum in the jaw region.
How Can a Dentist Help?
The first step toward treating TMJ disorder is reaching a conclusive diagnosis. When you visit your dentist, the team will take comprehensive digital X-rays, an MRI or a CT scan of the area and conduct a visual inspection of your jaw and bite.
In some cases, the disorder is caused by the need for orthodontic work to replace missing teeth. In other cases, a skeletal issue with your jawbone may require surgery. Your dentist will refer you to either an orthodontist or a surgeon if these treatment options are necessary.
However, for more common, less extreme issues, dentists help relieve symptoms of TMJ disorder by providing patients with mouthguards or splints to protect against excessive tooth wear and to limit the jaw’s movement at night in the case of bruxism (grinding your teeth).
They can also prescribe anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants to help reduce pain and swelling, and also may help you practice jaw relaxation exercises to limit symptoms in the future.
Are you suffering from any of the symptoms described here? You don’t have to simply endure — we have a solution. Call Oak Hills Dentistry today and make an appointment. Let our professional, friendly team provide you with lasting relief from your TMJ disorder.