Staying Safe from TMJ – Advice from Englander Dental

One of the most complex and frequently used joints in the human body is the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This is the joint that’s located between the mandible and the temporal bone. TMJ disorder occurs when one or both of these joints cease to work properly. It’s a common disorder and can be effectively treated.

What are the Common Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?

There are a wide range of symptoms that could indicate TMJ Disorder. It’s important to know that the symptoms may vary greatly between people. If you experience any of these symptoms frequently, it’s advised to see a dentist promptly in order to determine whether you have TMJ and to determine the proper treatment, or evaluate unrelated symptoms in the case that you don’t have TMJ. These are the symptoms you want to be on the lookout for if you suspect TMJ:

• Frequent Headaches

• Ear Pain

• Jaw Joint Pain

• Tooth Pain

• Jaws Locking

• Jaws Popping

• Facial Swelling

This list does not cover all, and there are plenty of other symptoms that aren’t as common but still may indicate TMJ Disorder. Additionally, some people have TMJ Disorder but experience none of the common symptoms associated with it.

 What Causes TMJ Disorder?

Although the exact cause may vary, along with the symptoms, the bottom line is that TMJ is generally a result of muscles or nerves on one side of the face having problems that cause pain such as headaches, face pain, jaw pain, and neck pain. People who have TMJ Disorder often grind or clench their teeth, dislocate their jaws, or tighten their jaw muscles frequently (this one often a response to stress). Arthritis and a misaligned bite are also other general causes of TMJ Disorder.

How is TMJ Disorder Treated?

There are few common treatments for TMJ Disorder. The most commonly prescribed is the use of a mouth guard that will prevent the wearer from grinding his or her teeth together while sleeping. This customized mouth piece is known to bring relief to patients after just one night of use. Jaw exercises are often prescribed to use either without or in with the mouth guard treatment. Bite therapy is an alternative but common treatment that can be highly effective for retraining your jaws not to clench.