Temporomandibular joint disorder, sometimes abbreviated as TMJ or TMD, has a number of symptoms, some of which are difficult to connect to a problem with the jawbone. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should consult with a dentist for an appropriate diagnosis. Prompt treatment of TMJ can help you avoid oral surgery, since earlier treatment helps correct the problem before the joint deteriorates.
Symptoms of TMJ
TMJ occurs when the joint where the lower jaw (mandible) meets the skull at the temporal bone becomes misaligned. This creates abnormal wear in the joint, as well as moving the jaw out of its proper position. Because several facial nerves run through this area, they can become compressed, causing a variety of symptoms throughout the face and neck. TMJ can also lead to misalignment of the teeth, causing wear that can lead to premature tooth loss.
Symptoms of TMJ can vary widely, and are often similar to symptoms of other problems or disorders. Diagnosis of TMJ often involves ruling out more serious problems that could be producing these symptoms. Once these issues are ruled out, proper treatment can begin.
Some of the most common symptoms of TMJ include:
• Persistent headaches
• Discomfort in the ears or the jaw joint
• Clicking in the ears or jaw joint
• “Freezing” of the jaw
• Discomfort in the shoulders, neck, or upper back
• Teeth grinding or clenching
• Abnormal wear on the teeth
Any of these symptoms could indicate that you have TMJ, and should be diagnosed by a dentist or doctor.
Treatment for TMJ
There are several treatment options for TMJ, depending upon how severe the misalignment has become. In most cases, surgery is not necessary. However, if the joint has eroded sufficiently or is severely out of alignment, an oral surgeon might be required to restructure the joint.
Other treatment can include:
• Orthodontic treatment
• Veneers to adjust alignment
• Orthotics to hold the jaw in the proper position
Any of these treatments, or a combination, can provide the relief you need to alleviate your symptoms and prevent further damage to your teeth and jawbone.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and want to know more about your treatment options, contact our skilled oral surgeon at Surgical Arts. Call 817-552-3223 to make an appointment.