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Posted on: March 3, 2023
Do Your Symptoms Point to TMJ Disorder?
Temporomandibular joint disorder is often called TMJ disorder. This oral health condition causes pain or discomfort in the temporomandibular joints. Those are the joints that hold the lower jaw to the skull. They allow you to open and close your mouth. You rely on them for daily activities like talking and chewing. Unfortunately, the joints can begin to suffer from inflammation and other problems that can interfere with your daily life. Your dentist in Miami hopes that you’ll learn about the signs of TMJ disorder, such as stiffness, soreness, and locked joints. Informing yourself of the symptoms will prepare you to seek treatment if such problems start happening to you.
There may be multiple factors at play when people are experiencing TMJ disorder. The causes can include teeth grinding, long-term stress, accidents, and poor bite alignment. It’s not uncommon for multiple people in a family to suffer from TMJ disorders since there’s a genetic component too. The mix of TMJ disorder causes that someone experiences can vary from person to person. But no matter the cause, you can seek treatment for your TMJ troubles.
Signs of TMJ Disorder
You may be wondering if your current aches and pains stem from TMJ disorder. According to your dentist in Miami, common symptoms are:
- Pain in the jaw or surrounding area (face, neck, shoulders)
- Stiff or locked jaw — trouble with opening and closing your mouth
- Noises when moving the jaw, like pops or clicks
- Limited ability to open your mouth
- Pain with biting and chewing
- Tinnitus, which involves ringing or other recurring noises in the ears
- Frequent headaches
Your dentist in Miami is the person to see about these TMJ disorder symptoms. During an exam, the dentist will take a good look at the areas where you’re having pain. Discussing your medical history and your current symptoms can help with making a diagnosis. There may also be X-rays or other imaging tests done so that your dentist can get a more accurate view of what’s going on inside your mouth.
Treatment Options for TMJ Disorder
Once the dentist tells you that you have TMJ disorder, you’ll be able to start talking about a treatment plan. There are a variety of options available, so your dentist will create a customized plan based on how intense your symptoms are and what’s causing them. Some patients undergo surgery for TMJ disorder, but non-surgical options are sufficient for many people. The available non-surgical treatment approaches include medication and physical therapy in addition to lifestyle changes. With a comprehensive treatment plan in place, you will hopefully see a marked improvement in your jaw health.
Non-surgical Care for TMJ Disorder
You might be a good candidate for non-surgical TMJ disorder treatment, and that’s usually the type of care that dentists try first. Physical therapy is a good example of an effective approach to TMJ disorder symptom relief. During physical therapy sessions, you might do exercises to build the muscles in your jaw area and increase your flexibility. The dentist might also advise that you should take anti-inflammatory medication to reduce any swelling and manage your pain and discomfort.
There are additional things you can do at home to help improve your condition. Your dentist may ask you to make some lifestyle changes, including:
- Not chewing more than necessary — staying away from especially hard or crunchy items that require a lot of work from your jaw
- Not opening your mouth too far, especially when you sing or yawn
- Not chewing on your nails, your pencils, or other items that aren’t meant to go in your mouth
- Not letting stress get the best of you — practicing yoga, meditation, or other calming activities
Consult Your Dentist About TMJ Disorder
If it will help in your situation, the dentist may provide you with an oral splint. A TMJ splint is a dental appliance that you can take out and put back in as needed. The purpose of the splint may be to ease the pressure on your jaw or to keep you from grinding and clenching excessively. Some patients also benefit from seeing an orthodontist. Orthodontic treatment can make a difference for people whose TMJ disorder stems from problems with alignment. With braces or other orthodontic appliances, you can permanently realign your bite and fix the position of your teeth and jaw. This can lead to long-lasting relief.
While not usually a first-line treatment, surgery can be used in severe cases. Some surgeries repair the affected joints by draining fluid. As a result, the inflammation in the jaw usually goes down. Other surgeries take out the original joints and put artificial ones in their place.
If you think you might have a TMJ disorder, don’t try to solve the problem on your own. Your dentist in Miami can help with this complex condition. Not only can a dentist give you a diagnosis, but a professional can also develop an effective treatment plan that looks at this disorder and its underlying causes from all angles. The treatment might relieve your symptoms, prevent the progression of the disorder, and repair the damage you’ve already experienced.
Many people live with TMJ disorders, but they don’t have to. Whether the problem is caused by chronic stress, poor bite alignment, arthritis, injury, or teeth grinding, help is available. A treatment plan can address TMJ disorder symptoms such as limited jaw mobility, popping and grinding, facial pain, and headaches.
Your dentist in Miami is the best person to talk to about your TMJ disorder concerns. If you suspect that this condition might be affecting you, call and talk to the dental professionals in our office. We look forward to the opportunity to help you with symptom relief and TMJ disorder treatment. We’re here for your temporomandibular concerns and all of your oral health needs. Call today to book your appointment with our dental team.