TMJ Disorder

Finger pointing at the TMJ on a human skull.

TMJ is an abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. When it’s working the way it should, the complex joint opens, closes, glides, and rotates painlessly. It’s the joint that lets you chew your food and open and close your mouth when you’re talking, laughing, or using your face to express shock or other emotions. It’s used a lot in everyday life. When it locks up or stops moving smoothly, it can cause a great deal of discomfort and pain. Dental Partners of Boston, named among the best dentists in Boston, offer treatments to relieve TMJ pain.

What Are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?

The symptoms of TMJ vary from person to person. They include:

  • Earaches, headaches, and even migraine headaches
  • Pain in the jaw, in your neck, or around your jaw, cheeks, and ears
  • Pain when you’re chewing
  • A locked jaw or an inability to open or close your mouth completely
  • Clicking, grating, or popping noises coming from your jaw
  • A change in how your upper and lower teeth fit together
  • A change in your facial expression

What Causes TMJ Disorders?

The Mayo Clinic says that the cause of TMJ disorders may not always be clear. However, some of the causes listed by the Clinic are:

  • Injury from an impact to the jaw
  • Arthritis-damage to the cartilage surrounding the bones that connect the joint
  • Erosion or misplacement of the small, shock-absorbing disk separating the bones
  • Diseases of the body’s connective tissues
  • Clenching or grinding of the teeth over an extended period of time
  • Genetic factors

Other factors include improper alignment of the bite between your upper and lower teeth and poorly placed fillings or crowns.

How Is TMJ Disorder Diagnosed?

Diagnosis may begin with a series of questions about your symptoms. Your dentist may listen for clicks and pops as you move your jaw, use his or her hands to feel the movement and alignment of the joint as you open and close your mouth, or press around your jaw to find the specific sites of discomfort.

How is TMJ Disorder Treated?

You may receive prescription-strength pain medications or muscle relaxants for a few days to provide immediate relief of symptoms. This provides time to schedule an appointment for permanent relief of your symptoms.

At Dental Partners of Boston, you’ll be scheduled for an office visit when you’ll be fitted with a custom TMJ appliance. TMJ appliances are similar to mouth guards. These devices change the resting length of the muscles in your jaw and reduce the pressure or tension in the joint. These appliances provide an effective treatment for many patients.

If you’re experiencing symptoms associated with TMJ disorder, schedule an appointment with Dental Partners of Boston today.

Related Posts