Your dentist should take care of not just your teeth, but also your entire oral condition and its effect on your overall physical health. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder affects facial muscles and joints; as a TMJ dentist, Dr. Robert D’Alfonso, DDS, proficiently diagnoses and treats this syndrome.
TMJ disorders are a group of conditions that are temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders. It affects around 10 million Americans, and occurs more commonly in women than men. It causes pain and clicking in the jaw joint and may affect its movement. It can be an acute, or short-term, condition, or for some it may be chronic, or long-term. At Lakeway Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, we are experts in TMJ and here to ease your pain.
The temporomandibular joint is the connecting hinge between jaw and skull. Place your finger directly in front of your ear; when you open and shut your jaw, the area you feel is the temporomandibular joint. TMJ disorder can encompass any number of issues, from muscle strain to torn ligaments to stressful teeth grinding. It involves anything and everything associated with that physical area. That’s why you need a TMJ dentist; the TMJ is complex, and requires knowledge and experience for effective treatment.
There are many symptoms to the condition, and not everyone will have the exact same conditions. Generally, people may experience:
- Pain in the face, neck, or jaw that radiates
- Stiffness in the muscle of the jaw
- A limited range of jaw movement
- Differences in the lower and upper teeth fit together
- Clicking in the jaw joint when the mouth opens and closes. Can be a popping or grating. May be painful.
Treatment options for the jaw pain and stiffness of TMJ are widely variable. You may practice self-care in doing jaw stretches, applying ice, or eating softer foods. Pain medications may be used to bring some temporary relief. We may prescribe stronger medications or muscle relaxants if need be or may use a stabilization splint, or a bite guard to help. Surgery and implants are also options. People that have many symptoms or who have TMJ that is interfering with their life should seek a dentist to help find treatment options right for them.
What causes TMJ?
While the cause is still unknown, stress on the joint structures does contribute to the conditions.
What makes TMJ worsen?
Symptoms can worsen under stress, insomnia and poor diet.
What diagnostic tests are done?
Dentists can do an exam to check for bite misalignment, joint tenderness, and listening to the mouth opening and closing. X-rays may help to show any abnormalities.
If you’re experiencing any oral pain, call your Austin area TMJ dentist immediately. Our Lakeway dentistry practice is ready and waiting to help treat your TMJD. Don’t hesitate; call today to schedule your free consultation with our TMJ specialists.