TMJ Symptoms & Treatment Options
The temporomandibular joint or TMJ functions like a hinge to a door. This facial feature connects your jaw and the rest of your skull together. It is the joint which lets your jaw move and function. This joint provide you the ability to eat, talk and yawn.
Issues that involve this part of your face are erroneously known as TMJ, after the joint and not the disorder itself. To help you learn more about this condition, our resident dentist in Sterling Heights Michigan, Dr. Fadi Farhat, offers the following information on TMJ symptoms and treatment.
Causes of TMJ dysfunction
Although TMJ dysfunction is a common condition that affects people all over the world, it is not clear exactly why it happens. Some dentists believe the condition involves problems with how the joint or the muscles around it work. Among the many reasons identified to lead to the condition, the following are some of the most common ones:
- Tooth grinding and clenching – Whether you are aware that you are doing it or not, these two habits put a tremendous amount of pressure on your jaw.
- Arthritis – This condition involves pain and stiffness in the joint. If you have arthritis, you might find it more difficult to move your mouth and jaw.
- Stress – People react to stress differently. Some people tend to clench or grind their teeth when they are stressed. These people are more susceptible to developing the condition.
- Injury to your jaw or teeth.
- Chewing gum, poor posture and any other activities that may cause your teeth or jaw to become misaligned.
TMJ dysfunction symptoms
It is possible that you have TMJ dysfunction if you feel any pain around your jaw area, including the face or neck. Some people may hear clicking when they open or close their mouth. Some may have upper and lower sets of teeth that do not have a precise fit. In some cases, you may have difficulty moving your jaw.
Diagnosing TMJ dysfunction
There is no one, sure way of diagnosing the condition. Dentists will need to run a few tests and examine your head, jaw, neck and face to see what is going on. This is to make sure that the symptoms you are experiencing are not a sign of another condition such as an infection in your sinuses or ears.
As with any other dental issue, dentists will go first for the least painful, most conservative and least permanent course of treatment. Here are some of those options:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers, muscle relaxants or drugs to reduce inflammation
- Splints and mouth guards
- Recommend eating soft foods
- Jaw exercises
- Perform relaxation techniques
If you would like to learn more about TMJ dysfunction, contact your Sterling Heights dentist today.