TMJ Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) connects your lower jaw (mandible) to your skull near the front of your ear. It is a hinge joint comprised of muscles, bone, nerves, and blood vessels. These joints (you have one on each side of your jaw) control the movement of your lower jaw, allowing you to chew, talk, swallow, and yawn.
TMJ disorder can affect jaw muscles and cause jaw, facial, ear, or neck pain, as well as dizziness, ringing in the ears, and a clicking or popping sound with jaw movement.
If you are dealing with TMJ disorder symptoms, Dr. Karl Jobst at Grand Lake Dental in Grove, OK, can help.
Left untreated, TMJ disorder can lead to painful or serious issues, such as frequent migraines or jaw dislocation.
When does TMJ disorder require treatment?
The most obvious time TMJ disorder requires treatment is when it causes jaw dislocation. This is an emergency scenario, as dislocation locks the jaw in either a closed or wide-open position. Treatment involves a doctor manipulating the joint back where it belongs.
However, less serious issues, such as frequent headaches, face, neck, or jaw pain, or difficulty with swallowing or chewing, also need treatment.
It is a great idea to discuss your symptoms with Dr. Jobst, even if they are mild, as TMJ disorder is easier to treat before serious problems occur.
How can a dentist help with TMJ disorder?
As a dentist, Dr. Jobst has more than an understanding of teeth. His education included everything about the mouth and bite, including the joints and muscles of the jaw. Therefore, he can diagnose TMJ disorder and provide education about the jaw joints and how they function.
Early diagnosis of and education regarding TMJ disorder can help prevent your problems from worsening. For instance, avoidance of hard chewing, such as with beef jerky and gum, is helpful. A dentist can work with you to create a plan to help minimize future issues.
Also, since clenching and grinding the teeth (bruxism) can contribute to TMJ issues, you may need a mouthguard if this is a habit of yours. Dr. Jobst can fit you for a custom mouthguard that keeps you from clenching and grinding at night when bruxism is difficult to control. And since bruxism is often related to stress, Dr. Jobst can suggest stress-reducing ideas if needed.
Sometimes TMJ disorder is related to a misaligned bite. If this is the case for you, Dr. Jobst can recommend orthodontic treatment to realign your teeth and jaw.
In rare cases, patients with severe TMJ issues may require oral surgery.
Occlusal Equilibration for TMJ Disorder
Another treatment option for TMJ disorder that many patients have found helpful is occlusal equilibration. This treatment can help patients who have symptoms related to an uneven bite (malocclusion).
Occlusal equilibration involves reshaping the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This may include eliminating high spots on teeth or building up of areas that are worn down. This process allows for an even bite, which promotes relaxation of the face and jaw muscle and helps reduce symptoms.
For patients who are missing a tooth or teeth, occlusal restoration involves replacing missing teeth as well as reshaping procedures.
Do you suffer from symptoms of TMJ disorder?
If you have symptoms of TMJ disorder, it’s time to see a dentist. The earlier this is caught, the more likely it is you will receive relief with more conservative treatment.
Call Grand Lake Dental at (918) 787-5800 today. One of our friendly, helpful team members would love to answer your questions or schedule you for a consultation.