A number of concerning symptoms can indicate the presence of a problem with the jaw known as a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Such disorders develop when one of the jaw’s many components malfunction in some way.
If you recognize that you may be experiencing symptoms of a TMJ disorder, it’s important to be evaluated for the condition and learn about the potential treatments that could alleviate your symptoms.
Patients wanting to start with conservative, non-invasive initial treatment options may consult with a prosthodontist to determine whether such interventions are effective.
Symptoms Of TMJ Disorder
TMJ disorder arises when there is an issue with the muscular or skeletal structures of the jaw or when there is some nerve involvement. Those issues can result in a variety of symptoms, including:
- Jaw pain
- Locking of the jaw or clicking or popping noises with jaw movement
- Frequent headaches
- Difficulty chewing
- Bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching)
Patients who experience these symptoms regularly should consult with a TMJ specialist to confirm the diagnosis and the factors causing the TMJ disorder. The results of that assessment can point to the most effective treatment option.
Evaluation And Treatment For TMJ disorder
A dental specialist, such as a prosthodontist, is well-positioned to evaluate patients for TMJ disorder and provide any necessary treatment. These providers have extensive knowledge of the jaw’s structure, giving them the expertise needed to pinpoint the specific problem in a patient’s case.
Patients have numerous treatment options for TMJ disorder. Based on the results of the evaluation, your provider may recommend one or more of the following:
- Oral appliance therapy (an appliance similar to a mouthguard is worn for a period of time to hold the jaw in a certain position).
- Physical therapy (to improve jaw musculature)
- Massage therapy
- Over-the-counter painkillers or muscle relaxers
- Stress management techniques or counseling
Ideally, some combination of the above treatments will be effective in managing or eliminating your TMJ symptoms. If symptoms persist, be sure to inform us so that we can adapt the treatment plan or refer you to other specialists as needed.
Have you recognized that you might be experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder? If so, call Dakota Prosthodontics and Implant Center to schedule an evaluation and get started on your path to symptom relief.