What Is TMJ Disorder and How Do You Treat It?

If you’ve been suffering from symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder, Dr. Long and your trusted team at Tracey Dental are here to help. We will evaluate your unique needs and create a fully personalized TMJ treatment plan for long-lasting relief! You can count on us for exceptional care and service!

What Is TMJ Disorder?

The temporomandibular joint or TMJ works similar to a sliding hinge, connecting the jawbone to the temporal bones of the skull. There’s one joint on either side of the jaw. The bones and joints have cartilage and shock-absorbing disks between them to allow the jaw to open and close with ease.

One or both joints can develop TMJ disorder, which may include problems affecting jaw movement, pain in the areas around the joint and in the face, and dysfunction of the joint itself. The pain is sometimes extreme and may be constant or intermittent.

What Are the Causes of TMJ Disorder?

Doctors and dentists aren’t sure of the exact causes of TMJ disorder. However, the condition may result from one or a combination of factors, including genetics, trauma to the jaw, damage to the joint’s cartilage from arthritis, or if a shock-absorbing disk erodes or moves out of alignment. TMJ disorder may also result from nighttime grinding and clenching, a condition known as bruxism, because of the immense pressure it places on the temporomandibular joints.

What Are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?

The most common symptom of temporomandibular disorder is a dull ache and tenderness of the jaw and the surrounding areas. Some patients report pain in and around the ears, discomfort when chewing, biting, or yawning, and frequent tension headaches and neck pain. Symptoms also include misaligned teeth, stiffness of the jaw, and locking or a clicking sensation when opening and closing the mouth.

How Is TMJ Disorder Diagnosed?

Dr. Long will evaluate your symptoms and examine your jaw. He will identify sites of pain or discomfort, observe the range of motion in the jaw, and listen as you open and close your mouth. He may recommend dental x-rays to get a closer look at your teeth and jaw. Dr. Long may also request a CT scan to capture detailed images of the bones or an MRI to identify any concerns with the jaw joint’s disk or the surrounding soft tissues.

How Can You Reduce the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?

Things you can do to help ease TMJ disorder symptoms include using over-the-counter pain medications, eating soft foods, avoiding wide yawning, massaging the jaw muscles, and using heat pads and ice packs. It also helps to practice relaxation techniques to lower the risk of nighttime teeth grinding and clenching.

What Are the TMJ Disorder Treatment Options?

Dr. Long will evaluate your temporomandibular joints and determine the best course of treatment. He may recommend orthodontics, if needed, to straighten your teeth and correct any problems with the bite so your teeth fit together when you close your mouth. In some cases, he may recommend occlusal equilibrium, which involves reshaping the biting surfaces of the teeth to ensure the jaw closes properly.

One of the most effective ways to treat TMJ disorder is oral appliance therapy. Dr. Long may recommend an oral splint or a mouthguard to keep your teeth in a healthy position and to separate the upper and lower teeth, so you don’t clench or grind them in your sleep.

TMJ Disorder Treatment Near Me

Visit Tracey Dental in McKinney, TX, to learn more about TMJ disorder management and treatment for long-lasting relief. Dr. Long and his team are committed to providing care and service that exceed your expectations. Call us and schedule your appointment today!

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.