What Is TMJ Disorder?
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) refers to a family of concerns related to the temporomandibular joint, which is located between the upper and lower jaw and connects the mandible to the skull. Overuse or inflammation of this area can impair the overall functionality of the mouth, making everyday tasks such as eating, drinking, or speaking unnecessarily difficult. Worse yet, untreated TMJ disorders can potentially cause long-term damage to both your oral and overall health. At Signature Smiles, our dentists are well-versed in treating TMJ disorders and can help you manage your condition.
What Are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?
Symptoms of TMJ may include:
- Facial pain
- Soreness while chewing or yawning
- Sensation of popping, clicking, or locking in the jaw
- Ringing or tenderness in the ears
These symptoms can be highly uncomfortable and impede your ability to live normally. During your consultation, one of our dentists will evaluate your symptoms and create a treatment plan.
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorder has been associated with bruxism, or teeth grinding. Consistent improper movement of the jaw can contribute to permanent misalignment and inflammation, which can cause the aforementioned symptoms. Additionally, severe injury to the jaw area, certain related conditions (such as arthritis), and possibly genetics can all play a part in developing TMJ disorder.
How Long Does TMJ Disorder Last?
While the latest advanced dentistry techniques have made treatment more accessible than ever, TMJ disorder can be a chronic condition when left untreated. Several triggers can cause symptoms to flare up, including unusually chewy or dense foods, hormonal changes, or acute stress.
Less severe cases of TMJ may go unnoticed for a time, but often, this can make a flare-up of painful symptoms all the more jarring to a patient. For this reason, it is imperative to bring your concerns to a professional as soon as possible so you can get lasting relief.
What Does TMD Treatment Involve?
Depending on the precise cause of your TMJ disorder, one of many treatments may be your best choice. Common treatment options include the use of night guards to reduce grinding or oral appliances, such as splints, to reduce pressure on the joint. In addition, orthodontic treatments may be beneficial, as they can help realign the jaw. For more severe cases of TMJ disorder, oral surgery, specifically maxillofacial surgery, may be able to restore the jaw to normal functionality.
Our team at Signature Smiles is proud to offer treatment for this debilitating disorder. Feel free to contact us to schedule an appointment.