TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is a condition in which the joint between your lower jaw and the temporal joint in the skull is misaligned. It is also referred to as TMD, with the joint itself being referred to as the TMJ. TMJ can lead to a variety of symptoms, some of them uncomfortable and chronic. When TMJ becomes severe, it may require dental surgery to correct the issue.
Symptoms of TMJ
There is a wide range of symptoms associated with TMJ, which can vary from mild to severe. Many of these symptoms can also indicate other problems, so it is best to receive a definitive diagnosis before pursuing treatment for TMJ. Symptoms of TMJ can include:
• Persistent, recurring headaches
• Teeth grinding and clenching
• Clicking in the jaw joint
• Recurring earache
• Tension in the neck, jaw, and shoulders
• “Locked” or dislocated jaw
Some of these symptoms could also be the result of other, more serious problems. These problems should be ruled out before TMJ is diagnosed to ensure you receive an appropriate treatment. For example, if you have persistent headaches, you should be sure you do not suffer from migraines, as TMJ treatment might not be helpful.
Treatment for TMJ
Treatment for TMJ can be relatively straightforward or more involved, depending upon how severe your symptoms are. For less serious cases of TMJ an oral appliance, generally worn at night, can help reduce your symptoms. Other possible treatments can include:
• Orthodontic treatment
• Overall bite adjustment
• Relaxation techniques
• Stress management
For severe cases of TMJ, dental surgery might be required. If the jaw joint has been severely worn down because of misalignment, this surgery can help realign the joint and reduce your discomfort. Other types of surgery might also be necessary, including arthroscopic surgery and jaw reconstruction. If less invasive treatment does not provide sufficient relief, our dental surgeon will discuss these options with you to determine if they are appropriate.
Contact the office of Dr. Chris Tye, serving the Bedford area, today at 817-552-3223 if you would like more information on TMJ causes and treatment.