Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) may be small, but it has a very important job. It is the connecting hinge that keeps your jaw attached to the rest of your head, and as long as it is working properly, most people do not think twice about it. However, the moment it acts up, your world can be tipped upside down by the sudden onslaught of pain and discomfort. If you suspect that you may have temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ/TMD), then we here at Wanserski Dental Center for Complex Dentistry can help you not only pinpoint the source of your problem but also get lasting relief from it.
What Is TMJ Disorder and How is It Fixed?
Having a dysfunctional TMJ can be a downright miserable experience. Many people may have unexplained pain in their mouth and jaw and have no idea that the cause of their problem is an issue with their TMJ.
Signs of TMJ disorder include a popping and clicking in your jaw, pain in your mouth when you open it (such as when you yawn), pain when you eat or chew. It might also include a feeling that your bite is not closing together properly, swelling in your jaw, hearing loss, the sensation of a toothache. TMJ can even be a pain that seems to start in your jaw and can radiate up to your ears or down to your shoulders.
What causes TMJ disorder? While the jury is still out on the exact reason that your jaw can start to flare up, we do have a pretty good idea what can cause problems with this joint. One of the biggest triggers for TMJ disorder is, surprisingly, stress. Stress can cause a host of problems, but it often manifests as pain in your jaw.
Many people who are under much stress may not even realize they are taking it out on their jaw, causing clenching and grinding of the teeth and jaw. Other causes of TMJ disorder include grinding your teeth at night when you sleep (bruxism), an automotive accident that caused whiplash, an injury to your jaw, connective tissue disorders, and arthritis. TMJ disorder and causes may result in tooth extractions.
If we suspect that you may have TMJ disorder, we will start by carefully examining your jaw and the surrounding area. We may palpitate (gently press) your jaw and neck to determine if there is swelling and pain. We may also advise X-rays to take a closer look at the joint to determine if we can detect any signs of TMJ disorder on the X-ray.
We will listen for clues that you have TMJ disorder, such as the telltale pops and clicks. If we determine that you have TMJ disorder, we can start you on immediate treatment, such as certain medications (like tricyclic antidepressants or muscle relaxants), physical therapy, oral device treatment, or even Botox®. Lifestyle modification may also be beneficial in the short term, such as stopping the use of chewing gum and switching to a gentler, softer food diet.
We Are Here To Help
If you suspect that you have TMJ disorder, it is extremely important that you call us here at Wanserski Dental Center for Complex Dentistry at (715) 848-2435 today. We can help you diagnose your problem and get you started on prompt treatment so you can start to feel better as soon as possible!