Temporomandibular disorder affects the joint that runs along the side of the face and connects the jaw to the skull. This joint allows the jaw to move from side to side or up and down fluidly and comfortably. The TMJ, which is considered one of the most important joints in the body, can begin to deteriorate as the cartilage discs experience wear, shift or slip out of place. As the joint becomes inflamed and the nerves irritated, you may experience pain, discomfort and a wide variety of symptoms. TMJ disorder not only causes pain and difficulty opening the jaw, but can eventually lead to cracked and worn teeth as they sustain an enormous amount of pressure each night.
Repetitive motions such as those associated with eating are not enough to increase your risk of developing TMJ disorders. However, they can increase vulnerability. Misaligned teeth, arthritis, bruxism, car accidents and a direct hit to the jaw can also increase your risk of TMJ disorders.
Pain in the jaw joint may be the most noticeable symptom of TMJ disorders. The jaw joint may also pop loudly when the mouth is opened. Ear pain, headaches, facial pain, neck aches and shoulder pains can also indicate problems with the TMJ. A jaw that locks, loose teeth, worn teeth or a suddenly misaligned bite may be symptoms as well.
TMJ Treatment Options
If you are diagnosed with TMJ disorder, we can help lessen the symptoms of this debilitating disorder. Depending on the severity of your TMJ symptoms warm compresses, anti-inflammatory drugs and a soft diet can help reduce pain. TMJ symptoms see marked improvement from slight to moderate realignment of bite, made possible through Invisalign. An added benefit is the cosmetic appeal of these patients’ smiles is also simultaneously improved. To combat the main components of TMJ disorder, namely muscle strain and nerve pressure, we have seen great success from the use of night guards. These customized mouth guards work to gently relax muscles and lessen the effects of teeth grinding.
Learn More About TMJ Disorders
Contact Maple Avenue Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment and begin your journey towards finding relief. We offer a wide range of cosmetic, restorative, and family dentistry services to help you manage the health of your smile. Call us today at 401-237-4038.