TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. This joint is that which connects the lower jaw to the bone on each side of the head. This ball and socket joint is stabilized by muscles that allow for mouth movement. When there is discomfort in this area your dentist in Gilbertsville PA may diagnose TMJ disorder.
* Common signs of TMJ disorder are:
* Pain in the jaw area and ear
* Difficulty in both chewing and swallowing
* Jaw clicking
* Teeth that do not mesh properly when eating
In many cases the cause of TMJ is unknown but it is known that damage to the joint or extreme muscle fatigue can affect the area. If an individual grinds their teeth or chews gum excessively this too is thought to be a cause.
Although there are no tests that can confirm the presence of TMJ, your dentist in Gilbertsville PA can perform an examination of the joint and the muscles, looking for evidence of soreness, tenderness, a popping sensation, jaw clicking or difficulty in opening and closing your mouth. During this examination the dentist may take molds of your teeth to see how they are fitting together as well as X-Rays. It is perfectly feasible that this pain may be caused by a sinus headache or an earache so the dentist must rule out these potential causes of the joint pain.
It has been noticed that TMJ seems to affect those who suffer from arthritis. As arthritis damages the cartilage found in the joint, it is thought that this can lead to the pain associated with the condition.
Often the disorder goes away on its own. If the pain and discomfort persist the dentist will make certain suggestions which can be considered as conservative treatment. These suggestions may include stress reduction, the avoidance of chewing gum, don’t yawn with a wide open mouth, exercise the jaw, use ice on the affected area and use OTC pain relievers. If the dentist finds that the root cause is from teeth grinding, a night time bite guard may be suggested.
In the event these conservative approaches do not work, then the dentist may recommend that more aggressive treatments be undertaken such as surgery or orthodontics in an effort to realign the teeth and jaw.
John F. Hyatt, D.D.S., P.C. offers TMJ therapy to patients in Gilbertsville PA area. View JohnFHyattDDS.com.