What is TMJ Disorder?
If you’ve been experiencing persistent jaw pain or have noticed a “popping” sensation when opening or closing your mouth, your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) could be under strain.
These joints are found on both sides of the head and are responsible for the movement of your jaw. Injury or long-term strain on the TMJ can cause temporomandibular disorders (TMD) that lead to jaw pain and the sensation of clicking. Learn how Dr. Moylan at Alexandria Smile Center can help relieve your symptoms and resolve the cause of your TMD symptoms.
Symptoms of TMD
If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, Dr. Moylan recommends scheduling an appointment to have your jaw professionally examined. Common signs of TMJ disorder include:
- Frequent pain and tenderness in the jaw
- Inflammation in the jawbone or joint
- Headaches, toothaches, or earaches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Difficulty chewing or pain when chewing
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
Causes of TMD
TMJ disorders can be caused by several aggravating factors or a combination of influences. For this reason, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the disorder. Our expert Alexandria dentist will work with you to determine the cause of your TMD symptoms and establish a treatment plan.
Some causes of TMJ disorders may include:
- Erosion or displacement of the disk in the joint
- Joint cartilage damaged by arthritis
- Wear on the joint from bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Joint damage by an impact
Jaw Relief With TMJ Treatment
A bite splint, commonly known as a mouthguard, can help alleviate your pain and other symptoms of TMD. These custom-made appliances won’t correct your jaw issues on their own, but can be an important first step in treatment. Relieving your pain is the first priority. That’s why Dr. Moylan will work with you to find and effectively treat the source of your TMD.
Physical therapy and jaw exercises can be effective treatments for jaw issues. These exercises stretch and strengthen your jaw to relieve pain and allow for greater mobility. With time, therapy like this promotes healing by helping the muscles relax. Dr. Moylan will provide instructions about the best exercises to relieve your particular TMD symptoms.
Stress often leads to bruxism, an unconscious tendency to clench and grind your teeth. Over time, this can damage your teeth and lead to issues with your TMJ. Relaxation techniques can be a useful tool to save you from pain and wear on your teeth. If you clench or grind your teeth during sleep, wearing a bruxism mouthguard to bed can protect your teeth and reduce the pressure on your jaw.
Frequently Asked Questions
TMD is caused by damage to joint cartilage or the disk that cushions the jawbone. Typically, this is the result of arthritis, injury, or bruxism. Treatment must be customized for each patient because there are several possible causes of TMD.
Dr. Moylan will evaluate your unique case and determine the best treatment strategy to relieve the source of your jaw problems.
Treatment for TMD is quicker and easier when the condition is caught early before your symptoms lead to a serious problem. TMD can progress quickly when left untreated and cause you more serious pain. For this reason, it’s important to schedule a visit with your dentist at the first signs of distress from your TMJ.
Issues with your TMJ can sometimes subside on their own with rest and behavior changes. However, patients suffering from TMD usually require treatment to resolve permanently. Untreated problems with your TMJ will worsen with time and lead to further complications. If you experience symptoms of TMD, it’s better to pursue a professional evaluation by an experienced dentist like Dr. Moylan.
You Don’t Have to Get By With TMJ Pain
The Alexandria Smile Center offers reliable and effective treatment to tackle the causes of TMD. Help save yourself from more jaw pain by having your condition evaluated early. You’ll be glad you acted quickly to help protect your jaw and relieve your pain. Contact us today at (318) 545-7606 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Moylan.