TMJ disorder can cause a host of painful symptoms including jaw pain and tightness. Here, our Regina general dentists explain the causes, symptoms and treatment option of this common jaw joint disorder.
What is TMJ?
The TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) is a hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull. This joint is what allows you to move your jaw side-to-side and up-and-down so you can eat and speak comfortably and effectively.
What is TMJ Disorder?
When your jaw joints are balanced and healthy, they function smoothly, but when your teeth and/or jaw are misaligned, TMJ disorder may occur. There are a number of causes, symptoms and treatment options for this common jaw joint disorder.
Because your jaw muscles are compromised and have to work extra hard to do their job, TMJ disorder can cause a number of symptoms including:
- Headaches and migraines
- Face, head and neck pain
- Teeth grinding (usually during sleep)
- Difficulty closing your jaw
- Ringing in the ears
When your teeth and/or jaw are misaligned, this TMJ disorder may occur.
There are also some other factors that may contribute to the disorder such as the shape of your skull, genetics, airway issues and an injury or trauma to the jaw.
If you think you are experiencing TMJ disorder, it's important to get a diagnosis right away. If left untreated, it can lead to chronic pain and headaches, bone loss, gum tissue changes and loose teeth.
Once diagnosed, there are a number of treatment options available to you, including:
- oral appliances to reduce damage done by grinding and stabilize your bite into a more comfortable position
- orthodontic treatment with traditional braces or Invisalign clear aligners to correct underlying misalignment issues
- physical therapy and / or a 'TENS' machine to relax the tight jaw muscles in your jaw
Your dentist can work with you to find the right combination of treatment options for you.