The following information is an excellent example of available patient education from Crest + Oral-B dentalcare.com.
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are a group of conditions that cause pain in the TMJ and around nearby muscles. Clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth puts an additional strain on the muscles of the jaw causing inflammation. TMJ problems can affect a person’s ability to speak, eat, chew, swallow, make facial expressions, and even breathe. If you’re stressed to the point of clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth, you can develop pain associated with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The TMJ is the joint that hinges the lower jaw to the skull, enabling you to open and close your mouth.
What are the symptoms of TMJ disorders?
- pain in the neck and shoulders
- migraine and/or chronic headache
- jaw muscle stiffness
- limited movement or locking of the jaw
- painful clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth
- a bite that feels “off”
- ear pain, pressure and/or ringing in the ears
- diminished hearing
- dizziness and vision problems
- tooth sensitivity
Keep in mind that occasional discomfort in the jaw joint or chewing muscles is common and is not a cause for concern. Many people with TMJ problems get better without treatment. Often the problem goes away on its own in several weeks to months.
What causes TMJ disorders?
Besides stress, some possible causes are injuries to the jaw area, various forms of arthritis, some dental treatments, your genes and/or hormones, an infection, and auto-immune diseases.
How to treat TMJ disorder
Since most common jaw joint and muscle problems are temporary, lasting only weeks or months, simple care, such as hot or cold compresses and over-the-counter medications, is all that is usually needed to relieve the discomfort.
- Over-the-counter pain medications
- Prescription medications
- Gentle jaw stretching and relaxation exercises
- Stabilization splints (biteplate, nightguard, occlusal guard) are the most widely used treatments for TMJ disorders. Studies of their effectiveness in providing pain relief, however, have been inconclusive.
As your dental care provider, we may not be able to resolve all the issues related to your TMJ discomfort, but we can help you manage it!
At Smile Envy, located in Grove City, OH, we take pride in helping our community. We are dedicated to caring for you and your family’s oral health care needs, recommending regular dental check-ups for everyone. We want to help you stay healthy, giving you something to smile about. Give us a call at 614.801.0079 to schedule.