Temperomandibular Joint Disorders
Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your lower jaw to your skull, and works like a hinge. When this joint is healthy, you experience smooth, seamless jaw movements when eating, chewing, talking, and even yawning. However, TMJ disorders can make these movements more difficult, in which case you may need to seek treatment at a dental clinic.
There are several potential causes of TMJ disorder, including the clenching and grinding of teeth (bruxism), injuries, arthritis, retrognathia (recessed lower jaw), trauma, stress, or disease of the joints in the jaw. Proper diagnosis is extremely important and can help determine a proper course of treatment. If you experience any of the following, you should contact your dental office today to make an appointment:
- Pain in your jaw muscles
- Pain in your facial muscles, neck, head, shoulders, or back
- Your jaw pops, cracks, or clicks when you move it
- Your jaw becomes locked
- Difficulty opening your mouth without pain
- Difficulty aligning or closing your teeth properly
- Unexpected discomfort when biting down
- Buzzing in your ears.
Once TMJ disorder has been diagnosed, proper treatment can begin. The course of treatment recommended by your dentist will depend on the severity of the diagnosis, and can range from suggested stress management techniques and behavioral changes such as eating soft foods, improving your posture, and minimizing jaw movement, to physical therapy or wearing a mouth guard while you sleep to avoid bruxism. In some cases, orthodontic treatment or dental restoration using crowns and implants may be required to improve your bite. Botox® Therapeutic™ treatment and surgical treatments are only required in the most severe cases.