TMJ Dysfunction

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ) is a term used to describe a disorder of the jaw or muscles around the joint. There are many symptoms associated with this disorder.

Symptoms:

  • Pain or tenderness on the jaw or chewing muscles
  • Clicking, grinding or popping noises upon chewing or yawning
  • Limited opening
  • Earaches
  • Headaches
  • Jaws that lock

Disorders often result when the chewing muscles and the TMJ work incorrectly. When this occurs the muscles go into spasm. Any problems with prevent the complex system of muscles, bones and joints from working together in harmony may result in tissue damage, pain and tenderness.

Causes of TMJ:

  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Injury to the jaw (dislocation)
  • Certain diseases (arthritis)
  • Improper bite
  • Poorly fitting dentures
  • Over use (especially one sided chewing as in gum chewing)
  • Automobile or other accident

To relieve acute symptoms a soft diet is recommended as well as eliminating gum chewing. War or cold compresses can be applied to the area and if muscle spasm occurs medication such as ibuprofen or muscle relaxants can be prescribed. After a proper diagnosis which include x-rays, your dentist can treat this dysfunction.

Treatment options:

  • Bite plate or splint
  • Adjusting bite
  • Heat, massage
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
  • Surgery

Thousands of patients have been successfully treated for TMJ disorder. If you have any of the signs or symptoms mentioned, discuss them with your dentist. Diagnosis and treatment is essential to your overall long term health. Early treatment of irregularities will attain the best results.

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