The temporomandibular joint is the sliding hinge that connects the jawbone to your skull. Pain in the TMJ and surrounding muscles are a common source of discomfort for millions of Americans. In some cases, the pain is usually manageable and eventually goes away without treatment for the vast majority of those afflicted. However, some people develop persistent and significant pain that can last for months and even years. If you need treatment for this challenging condition, contact Lovett Dental Webster today at 832-932-5584.
What Causes TMJ Disorders?
TMJ disorders can occur if the jaw is moved out of alignment, if arthritis damages the cartilage, or if jaw trauma occurs. However, in most cases, the exact cause of TMJ disorder is unknown. For the large majority of people dealing with TMJ disorders, the pain seems to have originated with no cause at all. Researchers will continue to study the exact causes, but what scientists have learned so far is that no evidence exists linking jaw clicking, cracking, a bad bite, and braces to TMJ.
Some people are at higher risk of developing TMJ disorders in their lifetime. These risk factors include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, bruxism (teeth grinding), and connective tissue diseases. Additionally, it seems that TMJ is more common among women than men. While scientists aren’t sure why this is so, some researchers have begun studying links between female hormones and TMJ symptoms.
What are the Symptoms?
The most common TMJ symptom is pain in the chewing muscles and jaw joints. Other common symptoms include pain in the face or neck, jaw muscle stiffness, painful clicking and popping of the jaw joint when opening and closing your mouth, ear pain, frequent headaches, and a change in how your upper and lower sets of teeth fit together.
Because the cause of TMJ disorder is still unknown, there isn’t a singular and standardized test to evaluate and diagnose whether it’s TMJ. Instead, your healthcare provider will likely assess your medical history, catalog your symptoms, examine your face, mouth, and jaw, and potentially order an imaging scan if necessary. Following this evaluation, your healthcare provider should be able to diagnose your pain better and create a treatment plan specific to your individual needs.
For mild symptoms, doctors will typically recommend self-care practices in the likely event that TMJ will resolve itself fairly quickly. If you’re dealing with related mouth and jaw issues like bruxism, you’ll find many similarities between TMJ and bruxism treatments:
- Ice packs
- Soft foods
- Warm towels
- Mouthguards to realign the jaw and prevent jaw clicking
- Practicing good posture
When the symptoms become more severe, the treatment plans include:
- More powerful pain relievers or muscle relaxants
- Stabilization splints
- Joint implants
Contact a Specialist at Lovett Dental Webster
Are you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms and believe you may be suffering from TMJ disorder? If so, it would be a good idea to connect with Lovett Dental Webster and receive an expert opinion. Our team is prepared to assess your individual needs and provide you with a treatment plan that is right for you. Whether you’re dealing with mild discomfort or persistent long-term pain, we are ready to offer you TMJ and bruxism treatment strategies to help bring you long-term relief.
Our experienced staff can provide you with a full range of dental solutions, including:
We offer pediatric dentistry for your kids. Furthermore, we offer a full range of cosmetic dental options, including crowns, implants, inlays, and veneers. Smile brighter starting today. Contact Lovett Dental Webster at 832-932-5584 to schedule an initial appointment.