The temporomandibular joint, more commonly referred to as the TMJ, connects the jaw to the rest of the head. Each side of the jaw has a small piece of cartilage that helps it move smoothly when opening and closing the mouth. If the TMJ is misaligned or dysfunctional in some way, it can cause pain in the jaw and face as well as make it hard to talk and eat. In severe TMJ conditions, surgery may be recommended to correct the issue and restore proper function to the jaw. If our dentist at Advanced Dental Solutions Inc, suspects that a TMJ disorder is causing discomfort, a treatment plan will be created to resolve the underlying problem.
Who Gets TMJ Disorder?
Every person with a jaw joint can develop temporomandibular disorders (TMD), but some people are at higher risk than others. People with specific orthodontic issues may be more likely to develop TMD due to the way the teeth are misaligned when the mouth is closed. This misalignment can cause joint pressure, resulting in soreness and teeth grinding.
Because the condition can be aggravated by stress, people who experience chronic stress may also develop TMD. Constant clenching of the jaw or grinding of the teeth can lead to pain and damage to the joint. Sometimes, people with sleep apnea can also develop TMD due to the strain caused by the blockage in the airway during breathing.
Symptoms of TMD
- Pain in the jaw and teeth
- Difficulty chewing food
- Clicking sounds coming from the jaw while eating or talking
- The feeling of tenderness around the sides of the face
- Ear pain that persists for more than three months
How Is TMD Treated?
The symptoms of TMD can vary between patients, but there are some common treatments. In many cases, a patient will need a combination of these treatments to relieve discomfort caused by this condition. Treatment options may include:
Night guards and bite splints protect the jaw and prevent teeth from grinding at night or during the day. These oral appliances are custom-made to fit the patient’s mouth perfectly.
Orthodontics to correct misaligned teeth and correct bite issues. Straightening the teeth can make the mouth feel much more comfortable and reduce symptoms like headaches and jaw pain.
Medication to help reduce pain and swelling in the jaw. Some patients may also need muscle relaxants to help them sleep.
Surgery for severe cases of TMD that have not responded to other treatment methods. This surgery can involve removing damaged tissue to widen the airway.
For more information about treating TMJ problems, visit Advanced Dental Solutions Inc at 615 E. 82nd Ave Suite 100, Anchorage, AK 99518, or call 907-562-1686 to schedule a consultation with one of our dentists. We can discuss your treatment options and create a plan tailored to your needs.