TMJ hurting

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD or TMJ) impacts the joint that attaches your jaw to the upper part of your skull. This disorder can happen in several ways, though one of the more common inciting actions is constantly grinding your teeth. You can also get TMJ from other complicating factors like arthritis or other joint disorders. During this disorder, the patient usually feels myofascial pain and strain while chewing, speaking, or moving their jaw joint. This can come from stress on the joint itself or muscular issues present in the joint, as the temporomandibular joint is one of the most complex joints in the body.


Long-Term Effects of TMJ

TMJ can cause the following symptoms over a long period of time:

  • Jaw soreness, especially in the morning or evening
  • Headaches
  • Pain radiating behind the eyes or down the neck
  • Neck, back, and shoulder pain
  • Earaches or ringing in the ears
  • A clicking or popping jaw
  • Locked jaw
  • Limited mouth motions
  • Teeth clenching or grinding (bruxism)
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Numbness in the fingers
  • Dental misalignment in the top and bottom teeth

These issues can become more prevalent the longer you go without TMJ treatment. You can also end up with a wearing down of your back molars if your TMJ comes with bruxism (dental grinding). That’s why getting treatment for your TMJ is incredibly important as soon as possible.


TMJ Treatments

Thankfully, there are many TMJ treatment options out there. These depend largely on how old you are, the type of TMJ you have, how advanced your TMJ is, and various other factors. To help with teeth grinding, your dentist may recommend a night guard if that is the source of your TMJ. This helps distribute the pressure from grinding your teeth while providing a smooth surface for your teeth to connect with. This helps preserve the chewing surface of your molars while reducing friction in your mouth while grinding. By reducing the overall friction, you can reduce some of the strain on the joint, reducing symptoms.

TMJ treatment options focus on reducing your overall discomfort and resting your jaw joint. These include changing your diet, using hot or cold packs to reduce swelling and tenderness, meditation and relaxation techniques to help release your jaw joint, and physical therapy. In severe cases, you may require surgery for your TMJ disorder. However, this is usually a last-choice treatment option and depends heavily on the severity of your TMJ and other outstanding factors. Be sure to talk to your dentist to determine if surgery is the right direction for your TMJ treatment. 

If you have questions about TMJ or want to see a dentist about treatment, contact Artistic Smiles at (305) 271-3333. Our team of professionally trained dentists can help discuss different treatment options for you and help you get the care you need to improve your quality of life with TMJ. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today.

We look forward to hearing from you. 


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