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TMJ and TMD Treatment

Recognizing and Treating TMJ Disorder (TMD)

TMJ disorder involves your temporomandibular joint, which is the hinge that connects your jaw to the bones in front of each ear, called temporal bones. The temporomandibular joint allows you to move your jaw side to side and up and down so you can chew, talk and yawn. Any problems with the muscles in your face and jaw that control the temporomandibular joint fall usually fall under the diagnosis of TMJ disorder. While many people suffer from TMJ disorder, they don’t always experience the same symptoms so it’s important to recognize the causes of TMJ and how they can affect you.

Causes of TMJ disorder

While it’s uncertain what exactly causes TMJ disorder, dental professionals believe that it can arise from problems with the parts of the joint and the muscles of your jaw. Some potential causes of TMJ include:

  • Injury – injury to your jaw, the muscles of your neck and head, or the temporomandibular joint from whiplash or a heavy blow
  • Clenching or grinding teeth – puts pressure on the temporomandibular joint
  • Arthritis in the temporomandibular joint
  • Stress – causes you to tighten jaw and facial muscles or clench your teeth
  • Movement of the disc or soft cushion between the ball and socket of the temporomandibular joint

Symptoms of TMJ disorder

The temporomandibular joint is one of the most powerful and complex joints in your body due to the two separate joints that make its four-way movement possible. Someone with TMJ disorder can experience a range of symptoms that extend beyond the jaw to pain or discomfort in other areas of the body. When the temporomandibular joint doesn’t work right, the symptoms of TMJ disorder take several different forms including:

  • Jaw pain – from slight to debilitating
  • Jaw locking – locking, clicking or popping of the jaw muscles can lead to muscle spasms or cramping
  • Chewing difficulty – stiffness or pain when chewing, biting or opening the jaw
  • Headaches –can range from mild to migraine strength
  • Ear pain – earaches, aching pain around ear, ringing in ears
  • Facial pain – aching, dull pain throughout face
  • Dizziness – imbalance or dizziness due to inner ear irritation
  • Swollen face – face swelling on one or both sides
  • Back pain – tenderness or pain in the upper back, shoulders, and neck

These symptoms can range from mild to severe and can occur periodically or last for years. To find the best treatment for your TMJ disorder symptoms, you need to talk to a health professional certified and knowledgeable about treating the disorder. At Creative Dental, we’re experienced with dealing with TMJ disorder and offer a range of treatments including bite guards, orthodontics, and Botox.

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