Yourworks like a hinge and connects your jaw to your skull. It controls your jaw and facial movements.
For those living with TMJ disorder (also known as a TMD), their joint isn’t working properly anymore, likely resulting in severe pain in their jaw or facial muscles. If you suspect an issue with your jaw, we recommend you schedule an appointment with one of our experienced Grand Rapids dentists as soon as possible.
Causes of TMJ Disorder
Depending on your patient history, it may be difficult for your dentist to identify the exact cause of your medical condition. Different factors affect the TMJ and cause TMJ disorder to worsen.
For example, patients who have recently sustained an injury to the jaw joint are at an increased risk for TMJ disorder.
You may also experience TMJ disorder if you grind your teeth (also known as) or even if you have arthritis. Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis can especially affect the TMJ because they cause joint inflammation and stiffness.
Since it can be so difficult to determine why you’re experiencing jaw joint pain, it’s best to get the expert opinion of a medical professional, such as your dentist.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Neck aches
- Clicking in the jaw joint
- Facial tenderness or pain
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, we would recommend seeing an experienced Grand Rapids, MI, dentist who is knowledgeable in TMJ bite splint therapy.
A bite splint will protect and support teeth that have been loosened, fractured, replanted, or traumatized. At Lake Michigan Dental, we offer bite splint therapy options for TMJ disorders, bruxism, and bite misalignments.
Not sure if what you’re experiencing is because of TMJ disorder? We still recommend seeing a TMJ dentist. They will be able to examine your teeth and take dental x-rays to see if there are any problems with your jaw joint.
Dental Treatment of TMJ Disorder
The vast majority of people living with TMJ disorder are able to manage their symptoms and pain so they can continue living normal lives.
Common management techniques for TMJ disorder include but aren’t limited to:
- Wearing a mouth guard when you sleep to prevent teeth grinding
- Using muscle relaxants to calm jaw muscles
- Decreasing inflammation with low-level laser therapy
Most patients are able to continue living productive lives by properly managing their TMJ disorder symptoms. However, if you have severe symptoms that interfere with your quality of life, or if you notice a worsening of symptoms, then you may need surgical intervention.
In that case, you would need to consult with your primary care physician to determine if surgery is the best treatment option to alleviate your symptoms. Surgery is a last-resort option after other pain management tactics have failed.
Get Treatment for Your TMJ Disorder
Our Grand Rapids, MI, TMJ dentists can recommend a TMJ disorder treatment plan that works for your unique circumstances. Call Lake Michigan Dental today at (616) 453-8211 or contact us online to request an appointment.
This blog post has been updated.