The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), more commonly referred to as the “jaw joint,” assists in the basic opening and closing movements of the jaw. Unfortunately, this joint is a common area for recurring pain. While many people believe that hearing a “popping” sound coming from the jaw indicates a temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD), this is not always the case. In many cases, the jaw functions properly despite the presence of “popping” or “clicking” while chewing or talking. The best way to know if you have a TMJ disorder is through professional diagnosis from our Gainesville dentistry practice. We offer a TMJ examination, which includes evaluation of the joint tissue in the hinge of the jaw, as well as treatment for TMJ disorders.
What Are The Causes Of TMD?
TMD refers to temporomandibular joint disorders. TMD is a result of issues associated with the TMJ as well as the connecting muscles and tendons, which control chewing, yawning, and other jaw movements. TMD can result from an injury to the jaw or neck or by any of the following:
- Arthritis within the joint
- Injuries to the jaw, joint, or muscles within the neck
- Stress that causes tightening to the facial jaw muscles
- Grinding and clenching of the teeth
- Movement of the soft cushion and socket of the joint
Common Symptoms Of TMD
Possible problems associated with TMD can range in severity from feeling heaviness in the face to experiencing a locked jaw. Additional symptoms of TMD include the following. If you experience a dental emergency, contact us right away for prompt dental care.
- Facial pain
- Neck aches
- Painful clicks or pops with the jaw
- Ringing in the ears (Tinnitus)
- Facial swelling
- Tooth Pain
- Shoulder pain
- Limited jaw movement
- Difficulty chewing
What Are Treatments For TMD?
Treating temporomandibular disorders may vary from patient to patient. Understanding the exact cause of the discomfort may help us provide the patient with effective treatment to resolve the issue. Common pain relievers and cold compresses can provide temporary relief for most cases of TMD. For more serious cases of TMD, our Gainesville dentist may recommend the following TMD therapy treatments.
TMJ exercises that can help restore any imbalances within the muscles that control the bite. As these imbalances may develop over time, TMJ exercises may serve to reverse the issues.
Plastic Bite Guard
A plastic bite guard, often worn at night, can reduce clenching and grinding, allowing the muscles to relax and restore to their proper alignment.
In some cases, TMJ surgery may be necessary to correct the problem and prevent the continuation of pain and discomfort to the patient.