Temporal Mandibular Joint Disorder is a common joint condition that causes pain and discomfort when the mouth is opened or closed. Whether your condition is minor and limited to making a small clicking sound or serious enough to make you suffer excruciating pain, do not let it go undiagnosed. A few, very simple treatments can easily alleviate this condition by realigning the mandibular bone.
What is TMJ Disorder?
Temporomandibular disorder refers to different conditions that impact the temporal mandibular joint, facial nerves, and jaw muscles. TMJ pain can be triggered by the twisting of the jaw, opening or closing of the mouth or due to side-motion jaw movements. This condition can occur over time, as the muscles and ligaments holding the TMJ get damaged or stretched, moving the lower jaw out of alignment. It can also happen all at once in case of a traumatic event where the jaw slides too far out of the alignment, adversely impacting the functions of chewing and speaking.
Causes of TMJ
Not much is known about the cause of this condition but there is a certain set of behaviors associated with it. A major cause of TMJ disorder is teeth grinding which puts immense pressure on the joint which can aggravate an already inflamed joint. Teeth clenching will also contribute to the condition as it causes the facial and jaw muscles to tighten which puts more pressure on the joint. Apart from teeth clenching and grinding, arthritis can also impact the temporal mandibular joint. Stress is one more factor that aggravates TMJ especially if you are doing any strenuous physical activity like lifting heavy objects as the jaw muscles get overused by the grinding or clenching of teeth.
Symptoms of TMJ
Those suffering from temporomandibular disorder often report the following symptoms:
- Frequent headaches and neck aches
- Pain in the ear and in the areas around it
- Pain in the jaw which becomes more prevalent in the morning or late noon
- Jaw pain when yawning, biting, and chewing food
- A clicking sound when the mouth is opened or closed
- Tenderness and soreness of the jaw muscles
- Sensitivity in the teeth
- Difficulty in opening and closing the mouth
TMJ is two times more likely to affect women (specifically the ones who belong to the childbearing age bracket) as compared to men.
Orthodontic treatment for TMJ
There are three common treatments for TMJ disorder which are non-invasive – a night guard that holds your teeth apart, keeping them from grinding against each other; a splint that needs to be worn all the time and braces to correct the bite. A night guard works to ease the pressure exerted on the temporal mandibular joint by enabling the joint to slide back into position thereby lessening the impact on the joint. Unlike a night guard, a splint is to be worn all the time but orthodontic braces make one of the best treatments for TMJ. TMJ disorder is triggered due to bite issues and can be effectively treated with orthodontic braces. If you have been experiencing jaw pain, teeth grinding, and jaw clenching, orthodontic braces should be your treatment of choice, because braces are designed to get your teeth into better alignment while also helping you keep TMJ pain and discomfort at bay.
If you think you have TMJ, get a reliable opinion about orthodontic braces at Thurman Orthodontics. Call 559-439-0425 to schedule your complimentary first visit.
Dr. Brian Thurman has spent his entire life enjoying all the beauty that California has to offer. A Fresno native, he still escapes to the ocean or the mountains whenever his busy schedule allows. Driven by his love for natural beauty, Dr. Thurman enjoys creating beautiful smiles and healthy bites that last a lifetime. He is proud to be the only Ivy League trained Orthodontist in the Fresno/Clovis area.