You’ve likely heard of TMJ, but you may not know much about what those letters stand for. The TMJ are the two temporomandibular joints that connect your lower jaw to the upper on either side of your face. Combined with a network of muscles, ligaments, and tendons, these joints work together to allow you to eat, chew, yawn, and even speak. Because the TMJ moves up and down, forward and backward, and even side-to-side, it is one of the most complicated joints in the body and one of the most challenging to treat when the joints become inflamed.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
One of the reasons TMJ can be so difficult to diagnose is because the symptoms are varied; some of them may not immediately be associated with the jaw. The most common symptoms include:
- A clicking or popping sound when you move your jaw
- Facial swelling or discomfort
- Jaw pain when speaking, eating, or yawning
- Headaches, earaches, shoulder pain, or neck pain
- Limited jaw movement or complete lock jaw
If you go to your primary care physician to be treated for ear pain, you may end up going home with medications that do nothing to relieve your pain. The good news is that the Friendly Family Dentistry team know exactly how to help.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If your symptoms suggest that you may have a disorder of the TMJ, we will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your TMJ and other facial structures. This assessment, which will likely include a radiographic image, will allow us to see how the TMJ and all of its working parts are functioning then develop a treatment plan that will work.
There are many ways to treat a TMJ disorder, including oral appliances such as night guards or stabilization splints. Other options include steroid injections, orthodontic treatments, or dental prosthetics to improve the function of your jaw.
In the Meantime…
If you are experiencing pain associated with TMJ, you can temporarily alleviate your discomfort by:
- Eating soft foods
- Practicing relaxation techniques to reduce stress
- Applying ice packs or moist heat
- Using an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory
Don’t rely on these methods for too long, however. Contact Friendly Family Dentistry today to find long-term relief.