TMJ: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

The TMJ, which stands for temporomandibular joint, is a very complex joint in our body. Our dentists at Duggan Dental have explained the three main types of disorders that can affect TMJ, including their symptoms and the treatments available.

About TMJ Disorder

The TMJ is the joint that connects your skull and jaw, allowing you to perform everyday actions like talking, eating, and breathing. When there is a problem with this joint and the surrounding muscles, it can cause pain and discomfort. If the problem worsens, it may prevent you from properly moving your jaw. This condition is called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).

Types of TMJ Disorder

There are three main types of TMJ disorders:

Joint Degenerative Disorders

Osteoarthritis, also known as a degenerative joint disorder, occurs when the cartilage that connects the ends of your jawbones breaks down or wears away. Cartilage helps your bones move smoothly and absorbs shocks, so when it's damaged, you may experience pain, swelling, and difficulty moving your jaw.  

Muscle Disorders

Muscle disorders, also known as myofascial pain, can cause discomfort and pain in the muscles that control your jaw, as well as in your shoulders and neck. This condition is commonly associated with jaw-related issues.

Joint Derangement Disorders

A small, soft disc helps your jaw move smoothly and also absorbs shocks to your jaw joint. But if it gets out of place, it can cause problems in how your jaw works, which is called joint derangement disorder. Sadly, there's no surgery to fix this issue.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

With every type of TMJ Disorder, you'll likely experience pain in your jaw and face. The area around your ears may hurt, and you'll feel an ache when you open your mouth to eat or talk.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Facial bruising or swelling
  • Problems opening, closing or clenching your jaw
  • Headaches, dizziness or pain in your temples
  • Grinding, clicking or popping sounds when you open your jaw
  • Additional pain in your neck and/or shoulders

Treatment From Your Camrose Dentists

If at-home remedies such as avoiding stress, chewing gum, gently massaging your neck and jaw muscles, or trying over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have not proven effective, you should make a dental appointment.

Your dentist will review your dental history, thoroughly examine your bite and jaw, and take x-rays to assess before providing an official diagnosis of TMJ Disorder. The treatment he or she recommends may include:

  • TMJ therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Oral Surgery
  • Dental splints
  • Prescription medications

Your dentist can help you manage your TMJ Disorder with a combination of home remedies and attentive dental care.

Do you have more questions about TMJ and treatment options? Contact our Duggan Dental dentists today for a consultation.

(780) 679-2224