The hinge connecting your upper and lower jaw is one of the most complex joints in the body, and is responsible for maneuvering the lower jaw. Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, is when the complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones involved in this process no longer function properly. If your jaw feels like it is popping or “getting stuck” for a moment, it could be due to TMJ.
The Symptoms of TMJ
The exact cause of TMJ is often difficult to determine, but there are a number of signs and symptoms that can serve as an indicator. It’s important to keep in mind that many of the symptoms of TMJ are shared with other problems, so it’s important to visit your dentist for an accurate diagnosis of your dental health. A few of the most common symptoms associated with TMJ include:
- Severe headaches, earaches, and pain/pressure behind the eyes.
- A clicking/popping sound that occurs when you open and/or close your mouth.
- Pain when yawning or opening the mouth widely and chewing.
- A locked or “stuck” jaw sensation.
- Tender jaw muscles.
- Swelling of the face.
- Your upper and lower teeth suddenly fit together in an unusual way.
There is no absolute cure for TMJ, but there are a number of treatments that can help drastically soothe the symptoms involved. After consulting with your dentist, he/she will recommend one or more of the following:
- Eliminate muscle spasms and pain by applying moist heat or using medications such as muscle-relaxants, aspirin and other over-the-counter pain relievers/anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Appliances such as a bite plate or splint can be used to reduce the harmful effects of clenching and grinding. These appliances are custom-made to fit your mouth and keep your upper teeth from grinding against lower teeth.
- Training and counseling can help control stress related to TMJ. Certain relaxation techniques can be used to reduce muscle tension in the jaw.
- Jaw joint surgery may be recommended if jaw joints are affected and other treatments have not been successful.
Professional Dental Care from Annapolis Dental Care
If you want to schedule your next visit, please contact Annapolis Family Dental Care by calling (410) 267-0766 or visit AnnapolisDentalCare.com today! We can give you more information, or schedule your appointment. Our diligent knowledge of all dental treatments and extensive experience in all fields of dentistry, ensure Annapolis Dental is best suited to care for your oral health. You can also follow Annapolis Dental Care on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.