Do you suffer with orofacial pain? Perhaps your jaws hurt or feel sore when you’re tense or stressed. Jaw pain is a common symptom of TMJ disorder, a condition that involves dysfunction of the temporomandibular joints and the tissues supporting them. Our dentist offers diagnosis and treatment for TMJ dysfunction.
What is the TMJ?
The TMJ refers to a specific joint that facilitates mouth movement. Our temporomandibular joints connect the lower jaw (mandible) to the cranium. This joint moves in a range of motions used for oral function. Without TMJs, we couldn’t speak or eat.
What causes TMJ disorder?
TMJ dysfunction can occur when patients brux (grind and clench) their teeth and jaws. Bruxing puts unnecessary force on teeth and the jaw. This bad habit can lead to debilitating TMJ disorder symptoms along with weakened, brittle teeth.
Tooth wear caused by decay, neglect, and injury also contributes to TMJ disorder. This is because worn down teeth affect healthy jaw alignment.
TMJ disorder might also develop if the jaws are misaligned from developmental and congenital abnormalities or if teeth are misaligned.
What are the symptoms of TMJ dysfunction?
Many people with TMJ dysfunction suffer with frequent headaches and facial pain. They also experience clicking and popping sensations when opening and closing their mouths. Tooth wear and enamel loss are classic indicators of TMJ disorder.
How is TMJ disorder treated?
There are a few different methods for improving a person’s oral function and comfort after being diagnosed with TMJ disorder. If a patient has tooth wear, a dentist might recommended rebuilding the bite with restorations like dental crowns. Restorations bring teeth back to their rightful size and shape for optimal oral function and protection against further deterioration.
Beyond restorations, patients with TMJ disorder can benefit from orthodontic treatment if the positioning of their teeth is affecting jaw alignment. Sometimes, symptoms subside when teeth are moved to healthier positions.
Patients who grind and clench their teeth can be fitted with a custom mouth guard to allow their jaw to relax and prevent further damage to teeth.
Stress reduction techniques and therapeutic massage can assuage discomfort and tension, too.
Call us today at Lynn Dental Care to reserve a TMJ consultation with our team.