Temporomandibular joint disorders, also known as TMJ disorders, are a group of conditions that cause pain and/or dysfunction in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and surrounding muscles. When the TMJ is damaged or compromised, it can reduce your ability to open your mouth, chew, speak, and breathe properly.
What Are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorders?
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are conditions that result in pain and dysfunction of the jaw and surrounding muscles. TMJ disorders are caused by injury to the jaw or muscles, arthritis, teeth grinding, and other health conditions.
TMJ disorders can cause many symptoms. The most common symptom is pain, which is sometimes described as a dull ache in the jaw bone. It can also be described as a sharp pain in the cheeks, temples, or back of the neck. Patients also experience lockjaw, limited movement in the lower jaw, clicking or popping sounds while moving the jaw, frequent headaches, difficulty with speech, ringing sounds in the ears, etc.
How Are TMJ Disorders Diagnosed?
Sometimes an X-ray or CT scan will be required to determine if any damage to the joint has occurred. However, most of the time, a dentist or orthodontist can diagnose TMJ disorders by conducting a full mouth exam.
During the exam, the dentist or orthodontist will observe your TMJ’s range of motion, joint sounds, and pain and tenderness. They will also feel the jaw muscles for abnormal bumps.
What Treatments Are Available for TMJ Disorders?
The dentist may recommend several different treatments for TMJ disorders. Depending on the severity of your TMJ disorder, we may recommend one of the following treatments:
- Dental splint
- Oral surgery
Many patients find lifestyle modifications to be very helpful for treating TMJ disorders. Modifying your posture or reducing stress can ease symptoms. The dentist may also recommend relaxation techniques.
Can TMJ Disorders Be Treated Without Surgery?
If your jaw pain is caused by a TMJ disorder, we can treat it safely and effectively without surgery. If your muscles, joints, and teeth are in the right position, we can usually give you relief with nonsurgical TMJ treatment. Patients can also find relief from the condition by adhering to the following:
- Avoid chewing gum
- Prevent teeth grinding
- Avoid chewing on hard objects (for instance, pens, pencils, ice cubes, or fingernails)
- Avoid biting on hard objects such as hard candies, hard meats, or ice
To find out more about the dental services we offer at Finesse Dental Care, call (805) 410-9324 or schedule a consultation online. You can also visit Dentist in Thousand Oaks, CA at 860 Hampshire Rd., Suite E, Thousand Oaks, CA 91361.