Think you have TMJ disorder?
It’s important to receive an examination from a well-trained dentist.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the jaw joint. Often referred to in the singular, it is actually a pair of joints connecting your lower jaw to the temporal bones on the side of your head. It is a complex joint, allowing for complicated movements in many directions. Properly functioning joints provide the mobility needed for speaking, swallowing, eating, chewing, and making certain facial expressions.
TMJ Symptoms and Causes
TMJ dysfunction can involve one or both joints. Some of the symptoms of joint dysfunction include:
- Stiff jaw muscles, limited law movement, or jaw locking
- Radiating facial, jaw, neck, or shoulder pain
- Painful jaw clicking or popping
- A change in the way your upper and lower teeth fit together
- Chronic headaches
- Earaches, ear pressure or pain, ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
Some of the causes of TMJ disorder are arthritis, trauma, teeth grinding, a malpositioned jawbone, or an improper bite. Extensive, poorly done dental work, missing teeth that have not been replaced, or traumatic dental treatment can all be contributing causes.
Prevention and Treatment from a Well-Trained Dentist
A well-trained TMJ dentist can help prevent TMJ dysfunction by ensuring your restorative work is done correctly and the occlusion is balanced. For early detection, a thorough examination during your regularly scheduled dental appointments includes a check for signs of TMJ disorder.
If you are diagnosed with TMJ, a minor case can resolve with self-care and limited treatment. Jaw exercises and alternate application of ice and heat packs can relax the jaw muscles and reduce swelling. If your TMJ dysfunction is related to teeth grinding, stress-reduction techniques might be recommended. You might also benefit from a night guard or another oral appliance that relaxes the jaw muscles, reduces teeth grinding, and improves the alignment of your bite. You will be advised to rest the joint as much as possible.
Dr. Charles Cooper is a TMJ dentist who has been treating the disorder for decades. He has received post-graduate training for TMJ-related issues from the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies.
Get Relief for Your TMJ Pain
TMJ cases can be complex. Most dentists don’t get involved with treating the disorder. If you think your symptoms are TMJ related, it’s important to receive an examination from a well-trained dentist who will do a thorough examination, correctly evaluate your symptoms, and recommend the right treatment.
Call us to schedule an appointment for an exam, or request an appointment online.
It is such a comfort to know that I can always be confident that I am getting the most competent care, advice, and quality materials for long-term dental health. Many thanks to Dr. Cooper, Dr. King, and your wonderful staff!” – Dana N.