TMJ refers to your temporomandibular joint. This is the joint that connects your upper and lower jaws. The TMJ is not like most of the joints in your body. Because it works like a hinge, allowing you to do everything from speaking to chewing, it’s uniquely prone to wear and tear. At Salem Dental Arts we offer state-of-the-art facilities to help you keep this complex but vital part of your body working in tip-top shape no matter your age.
What is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ Disorder is actually an umbrella group of different problems that can happen in or around the TMJ. The joint is part of a complex system of ligaments, muscles, bones, and discs that all work together. It’s not uncommon for this area to become fractured, sore, or swollen. Symptoms of TMJ include headaches, pain when chewing or yawning, pain in or around your ear, jaw muscle sensitivity, reduced hearing, and a host of other issues. Often, you can tell if you have TMJ Disorder when your jaw audibly clicks as the disc shifts against the joint. Most people who have this click have nothing to worry about, but if you feel pain or that your jaw gets stuck, then it can be a serious concern.
What Causes TMJ?
Because the TMJ is involved in so many of the things we do every day, there are lots of things that can happen to it. Some of the most common include grinding and clenching your teeth, dislocation or other injury, teeth that are misaligned, arthritis, and even infection. Stress, though, is one of the most common causes of TMJ as people clench and grind their jaw. Jaw stress can also be caused by hard physical labor, like repeatedly picking up something heavy.
How Can I Treat TMJ?
While there are many at-home options for treating TMJ, the best choice for severe pain and discomfort is coming into our office. Here, we can give you a thorough exam, helping pinpoint the exact cause and rule out more serious concerns like arthritis. Because there are no standard diagnostic criteria for TMJ and the joint is at the center of so much of our daily lives, our dentists examine each patient as an individual, evaluating their needs as part of a holistic framework. Once properly diagnosed, we can help correct any bite problems or take proactive measures to reduce stress grinding by using braces, bridges, or crowns. In the most extreme circumstances,
surgery might be required, though even then, there are still low-invasive options such as arthrocentesis. We might also prescribe one of several drugs to help treat your TMJ Disorder. Limited doses of muscle relaxants, pain relievers, and anti-inflammatories can all help reduce the underlying causes. Other times low doses of anti-depressants might be recommended to help combat stress grinding.
Get Jaw Relief Today!
Why put up with jaw pain and discomfort when you could be getting relief right now? Call Salem Dental Arts today at (978) 741-1640 and let our team of oral experts help you find a treatment plan that fits every budget, schedule, and need.