Are you experiencing a dull, nagging and consistent pain in your jaw? Do you suffer from headaches on a regular basis? Are you having a hard time fully opening your mouth? Do you hear a popping or clicking sound when you open your jaw? If so, you could be suffering from TMJ (Temporomandibular joint dysfunction).
TMJ disorders are some of the most common dental issues in the United States. In fact, approximately 10 million people experience some type of TMJ disorder. Given the high prevalence of TMJ, it is important to have a full understanding of the disorder, especially if you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, so that you can seek proper treatment from a dentist carmel.
TMJ Disorder Defined
TMJ disorders affect the temporomandibular joint, the muscles and joints in the jaw that allow you to open and close your mouth. Located on both sides of the head, the joints and muscles of the temporomandibularwork together to open and close the mouth. For example, every time you speak, chew, yawn and swallow, these muscles are put into action.
The Impact of TMJ Disorders
The degree of TMJ disorders and their impact largely vary; however as any carmel dentist will tell you, there are three main categories that TMJ disorders generally fall into.
- Myofascial pain, which causes pain in the muscles that enable you to open and close your jaw
- Dislocation of the jaw; the disc that enables the jaw to move is displaced
- Arthritis and/or inflammatory joint disorder
One or more of these conditions can be experienced with a TMJ disorder.
Signs of a TMJ Disorder
The symptoms of TMJ do vary in severity, and they also vary from person to person; however, some of the most common tell-tale signs of a TMJ disorder include:
- Tenderness or pain in or around the jaw that can radiate around to the side of the head and down the back of the neck, and even extend to the front of the ear
- Tension headaches
- Dull, aching facial pain
- An uneven bite that can be uncomfortable
- Difficulty chewing
- Pain while chewing or after chewing
- A locking jaw, which can make it difficult to open and close the mouth
- A grinding or clicking sound in the jaw joint the occurs when opening the mouth
What causes TMJ?
The exact cause of TMJ is unknown; however, trauma to the temporomandibular joint is believed to play a significant role. Those who have a tendency to grind their teeth and who have arthritis are usually more likely to develop a TMJ disorder.
TMJ disorders more commonly affect women than men, which leads scientists to believe that female hormones can lead to the development of the disorder.
A comprehensive examination is the only way a TMJ disorder can be diagnosed. An east fishkill dentist will perform the exam, during which a number of techniques and processes will be implemented. During an exam to diagnose TMJ, a dentist may feel your jaw bone while you are opening and closing your mouth; analyze the range of motion of the jaw; listen for popping or grinding sounds while you open and close your jaw and take X-rays or CT scans of the jaw.
Treatment Options for TMJ Disorders
After performing a full examination and based on the severity of a TMJ disorder, a dentist fishkill will recommend the most effective treatment option.
There are several different options available to treat TMJ disorders. Some of the most common treatments used include:
- Mouth guards
- Oral splints
- TMJ arthroscopy
- Open-joint surgery
If you suspect that you may have TMJ, schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible. We will perform a comprehensive examination to diagnose your symptoms and we will provide you with the most effective treatment option(s).