Your mouth performs many essential functions. To do these functions, your mouth relies on many working parts. Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the connector between your lower jaw and your skull, is the joint responsible for all movements of your jaw, giving you the motion to eat, speak, yawn, and more. Irritation in the joint can lead to issues, including pain and difficulty performing simple tasks like eating and speaking. At National Dental Hicksville, we can help to treat the causes of your TMJ and give you your life back.
What is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorder, sometimes also called TMD, actually refers to some different issues that affect your temporomandibular joint, causing severe pain and impacting normal functions in your daily life. There are several issues that can lead to problems with your TMJ:
- Bruxism, or the grinding and clenching of your teeth. When you grind and clench, you are putting excessive strain on the muscles of your mouth, as well as the joint, wearing it out.
- Facial trauma. Impact to the face near the joint can cause problems. Whiplash, or any other trauma that causes your jaw to become temporarily dislocated, can also lead to irritation and inflammation.
- Your teeth or jaw are misaligned.
- Sleep apnea.
- Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
There are numerous symptoms that can indicate that you have an issue with your temporomandibular joint. Some of the symptoms, however, are not always obvious, and can often have you thinking that you have a completely unrelated issue. Symptoms include:
- Facial pain.
- Jaw pain.
- Pain while eating or speaking. You may also have significant difficulty doing either of these tasks.
- Your jaw may click or pop while chewing or even lock temporarily.
- Headaches or earaches.
Diagnosing the Cause
Before we can begin treatment, we first need to diagnose the cause of your temporomandibular joint issues. Diagnosis begins with an inspection of your mouth, with the help of an intraoral camera, checking your teeth and the alignment of your jaw. Next, we will take digital images (either digital X-rays or an ICAT scan) to see the hidden structures of your mouth and get a complete picture of what is going on.
Treating Your TMJ Disorder
Treatment for TMJ disorder depends mainly on the cause of the issue. There are several different types of treatments available:
- Prescription pain medication, which may also include muscle relaxers.
- Nightguard: Similar to a sports mouth guard, a night guard is designed to hold your jaw in proper alignment and provide cushioning for your teeth and jaw muscles, relieving the tension and stress exerted upon them. We create your custom night guard from a 3-dimensional impression of your mouth.
- Botox: While Botox injections are usually associated with cosmetic procedures for lines and wrinkles, they can also be used for relaxing the muscles in your jaw. This can then prevent you from clenching your teeth, relieving the pressure on the joint.
- Orthodontics: If you have misaligned teeth (or your jaw is misaligned), orthodontic treatment such as braces can help to bring everything into alignment and solve your joint pain.
- Surgery: When no other treatment option works, surgery is often used as a last resort.
Treatment for TMJ disorder can restore the quality of your life. If your jaw is causing you serious pain, contact National Dental Hicksville today at (516) 629-5086 to schedule your consultation.