December 6, 2016
Do you hear clicking or popping sounds when you open and close your jaw? Maybe you have headaches or jaw pain? If this sounds familiar, you may have a disorder of the temporomandibular joint. The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull on either side of the face. When the joint functions incorrectly, a disorder developes. It is estimated as many as 10 million Americans have a TMJ disorder; however, a large amount of people with the condition remain undiagnosed. As a dentist in the Woodlands, TX, we offer the diagnosis and treatments you need to stop TMJ pain.
What Causes TMJ?
TMJ can be caused from several factors, such as a previous injury to the joint, arthritis, or movement of the soft cushion or disk that is found between the ball and socket of the joint. In some cases, the disorder is caused from an underlying condition, such as Bruxism. Bruxism causes grinding and clenching of the teeth. The stress and pressure of the grinding results in the development of the pain and discomfort of TMJ.
What are the Symptoms of TMJ?
The symptoms of the disorder can be quite diverse, making it difficult to diagnose. Among the most common symptoms are pain and tenderness in the face, which can also include the jaw, neck, shoulders, and even in or around the ears. The pain often increases when opening and closing the mouth, such as when speaking.
The disorder causes limited mobility of the joint, making it difficult to open the mouth fully. The decrease in mobility can even cause the jaw to lock in an opened or closed position. It is not uncommon to hear clicking, grating, or popping sounds when the joint is moved, which can be accompanied with pain.
The combination of symptoms and decrease in normal functions of the joint often make simple tasks, like eating and speaking, uncomfortable and painful. This can leave you with a tired feeling in the joint. Swelling of the face and jaw can also occur.
Symptoms can extend to other areas of the body as well, leading to headaches, neckaches, dizziness, and even hearing problems, such as tinnitus. It is not uncommon to develop toothaches, ear aches, or pain in the upper shoulders.
How is TMJ Treated?
Bear Branch Family Dentistry offers TMJ therapy in the Woodlands, TX. After finding the underlying cause of the disorder and evaluating your symptoms, we create a customized treatment plan to stop TMJ pain. Among the most effective forms of treatment involves an oral appliance, which is similar to a mouthguard. The device is worn at night to protect the teeth and joints from grinding while also repositioning the jaw.
Treatment can also involve stress management, facial massages, and even various relaxation techniques to help relax the joint.
The symptoms and complications of the joint disorder can quickly cause your quality of life to decrease. Regain control of your life with TMJ therapy. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.
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