TMJ: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

Our dentists at Sydney Mines will provide you with valuable information about TMJ disorders (TMD), including the three main types, their symptoms, and available treatment options. The temporomandibular joint, also known as TMJ, is an intricate joint in the body that our experts will discuss in detail.

What is TMJ Disorder?

The TMJ is the joint that links your skull's temporal bones (found below your temple and in front of your ear) to your jaw. This hinge enables various functions like jaw movement, eating, speaking, and even breathing. 

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) occur when there are problems with your jaw and facial muscles. These issues lead to pain in the affected area, and in severe cases, the joint may become immobile.

Types of TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorders can be categorized into three main types:

Joint Degenerative Disorders

Osteoarthritis, also called joint degenerative disorder, occurs when the cartilage that connects the ends of the bones in your jaw breaks down or wears away. Cartilage acts as a shock absorber and allows smooth movement of your bones. When the cartilage deteriorates, it leads to pain, swelling, and limited jaw mobility.

Muscle Disorders

Muscle disorders, also known as myofascial pain, cause discomfort and pain in the muscles responsible for controlling your jaw's function. Additionally, you may feel pain in your jaw muscles, as well as your shoulders and neck.

Joint Derangement Disorders

A small, cushion-like disc positioned between two bones helps the jaw move smoothly and absorbs shocks during jaw movements. When someone has a joint disorder, the jaw's internal balance is disrupted due to a dislocated disc or damaged bone. Unfortunately, there is currently no surgical solution for this problem.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

When you have TMJ Disorder, you will probably feel pain in your jaw and face. You might also experience discomfort around your ears, and there may be aching when you open your mouth to eat or talk.

Additional symptoms may include:

  • Facial bruising or swelling
  • Problems opening, closing or clenching your jaw
  • Headaches, dizziness or pain in your temples
  • Grinding, clicking or popping sounds when you open your jaw
  • Additional pain in your neck and/or shoulders

When You Should See a Dentist for TMJ Treatment

If you have any type of TMJ Disorder, you will likely feel pain in your jaw and face. You may also experience discomfort around your ears and aching when you open your mouth to eat or talk. 

Other symptoms can include: If trying simple remedies like reducing stress, chewing gum, gently massaging your neck and jaw muscles, or using over-the-counter pain relievers haven't helped, it's recommended to schedule a dental appointment.

During your dental visit, your dentist will carefully examine your dental history, assess your bite and jaw, and take x-rays to evaluate the condition before giving an official diagnosis of TMJ Disorder. The treatment options your dentist may suggest can include:

  • TMJ therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Oral Surgery
  • Dental splints
  • Prescription medications

Your dentist can help you manage your TMJ Disorder with a combination of home remedies and attentive dental care.

Do you have headaches, dizziness, or jaw pain? Our team of dentists at Sydney Mines can create a personalized treatment plan to assist you. Please schedule an appointment with us today.

Book an appointment today with Northside Dental.

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