Are you surprised that dentists are interested in and able to support people with TMJ symptoms? You shouldn’t be surprised. After all, dentists are a part of your entire team of medical professionals who combine their expertise to ensure your health in their specific areas of specialization and where their interests overlap.
Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your jawbone and skull on either side of your head. If you place your finger below your ear on one or both sides of your head and open and close your mouth, you’ll feel that joint at work. Thousands of Albertans experience a cluster of symptoms often called TMJ disorder.
Common as TMJ disorder is, it is not particularly well understood. This article aims to set out some known information about the symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options for TMJ disorder. We’ll also encourage you to involve our dental clinic in Edmonton in the screening, assessment, diagnosis and treatment process if you are one of many Albertans who suffer from TMJ disorder.
What are The Symptoms of TMJ Disorders?
The most commonly reported symptom of TMJ disorders is jaw pain while using your jaw normally and doing things as common as chewing, talking and even yawning. In addition to that jaw pain, people who suffer from TMJ disorders often describe:
- A clicking sound in their jaw or ears
- Experiencing lockjaw or difficulty opening their jaw fully without pain, if at all
- Earaches and facial pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Swelling on the side of your face
- A stiff and sore jaw and facial pain generally
- A tendency to grind your teeth as you sleep
What Causes TMJ Disorders?
TMJ disorders involve impairments to the TMJ itself. What remains somewhat mysterious is what causes that impairment in the first place. Some seemingly plausible causes of TMJ impairment that produce the symptoms of TMJ disorders include blows to the head or whiplash, arthritis in the TMJ, grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw in your sleep, some autoimmune conditions, some infections, poor posture, and even emotional stress.
The pain you experience with TMJ disorders is usually caused by damaged cartilage in the joint, eroded or misaligned discs that separate your jaw from your skull and damage to the TMJ itself.
What are Treatment Options?
Dentists use advanced neuromuscular technology to analyze patients’ TMJ joint function and alignment. The same technology helps to assess the potential success of available non-surgical TMJ treatment near you. The results of those neuromuscular investigations may suggest that one or of the following treatment options may provide relief:
- Custom orthotics
- Custom night guards to prevent you from grinding your teeth
- Orthodontic treatment to correct misaligned teeth
- Minor alterations to the biting surfaces of teeth to change how and where they meet to allow your jaw to assume a neutral and stress-free position
The specially trained staff at our TMJ clinic in Edmonton screen patients for symptoms and risk factors associated with TMJ disorders and seemingly related conditions like sleep apnea and bruxism. Let the staff at our dental clinic near you know whenever you are experiencing any symptoms that affect or involve any part of your head, jaw, neck, throat and shoulders or that seem to interfere with your breathing or sleeping.
They may be able to associate those symptoms with conditions affecting your jaw and mouth and may be able to provide relief through dental treatment or in concert with other medical professionals.