TMJ Q & A
What is TMJ?
Disorders associated with your temporomandibular joint and surrounding muscles are commonly diagnosed as TMJ. TMJ conditions cause pain and dysfunction in the joints and muscles of your jaw that control movement.
The causes of TMJ disorders include:
- Eroding disks
- Misalignment of your jaw
- Damaged joint cartilage
In many cases, the cause of TMJ isn’t apparent. This particular disorder falls into three main categories:
- Myofascial pain: discomfort in the muscles that control your jaw function.
- Internal derangement: displaced disc, dislocated jaw, or injury to your condyle.
- Arthritis: a group of degenerative and inflammatory joint disorders
It’s not uncommon to have more than one of these conditions at the same time.
What are the symptoms of TMJ?
The most common symptoms of TMJ include:
- Headaches: similar to migraines
- Pain and pressure behind your eyes
- Clicking or popping sound while opening and closing your mouth
- Discomfort brought on by yawning, opening your mouth widely or chewing
- Stuck or locked jaws
How is TMJ diagnosed?
The doctors at Prime Smile Dental Group diagnose TMJ by reviewing your medical and dental history and conducting a clinical examination that includes X-rays. It’s important to have a proper diagnosis because other disorders share similar symptoms.
How is TMJ treated?
There’s no cure for TMJ. However, several treatments help reduce your symptoms. These include:
Muscle relaxants, aspirin, and anti-inflammatory drugs help relieve the pain associated with TMJ.
Wearing a night guard helps reduce the harmful effects that often result in TMJ, including tooth clenching and grinding.
Many relaxation techniques help control muscle tension in your jaw. Eliminate stress in your life to reduce TMJ problems.
The dentists at Prime Smile Dental Group also recommend:
- Eating soft foods
- Avoiding gum chewing gum and nail-biting
- Applying heat
- Jaw muscle strengthening exercises
- Fixing an uneven bite
In most cases, TMJ is relieved with self-managed care and nonsurgical treatments. The doctors at Prime Smile Dental Group recommend surgery as a last resort after more conservative measures fail.
If you have facial pain and think it might be TMJ, call or make an appointment online today with one of the dentists at Prime Smile Dental Group in Marlborough, Massachusetts.