The temporomandibular joint is a joint connecting the mandible or lower jaw to the skull. This joint is situated on both sides of the head, in front of the ears. Because of this joint, we can open and close our mouths and eat and speak properly.
What Is a TMJ Disorder?
Problems associated with the temporomandibular joint are known as temporomandibular disorders or TMD. They can cause tenderness at the joint, facial pain, and difficulty moving the mouth.
TMJ disorders can be treated but a definitive diagnosis can sometimes be difficult.
What Causes TMJ Disorders?
The causes of TMD are often not defined. However, many health conditions are associated with TMJ disorders and can include:
- Erosion or aging of the joints
- Consistent grinding and clenching of teeth
- Traumatic injury or a distressing occurrence
- Structural jaw issues since birth
- Multiple other factors can also lead to TMD, such as general stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, poor posture, etc.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
Depending on the severity and the cause of the TMJ disorder, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Severe pain in the face or neck
- Restricted movement of the jaw
- Clicking and popping sound when opening or closing of the mouth
- Stiffness in the muscles of the jaw
- Changes in the alignment of the lower and upper teeth
Note: Symptoms can show up on either one or both sides of the face.
Treatment for TMJ Disorders
Mild TMJ disorders are generally treated with the help of self-care practices at home, such as:
- Using ice to minimize swelling
- Eating softer foods
- Minimizing jaw movement
- Reducing stress
- Avoiding chewing gum and consuming hard foods
- Jaw-stretching exercises to improve jaw movement
If the case is severe, you may have to consult the doctor for treatment. Treatments may include, but are not limited to:
- Pain relief with Low Level Heat Therapy
- Relaxing the jaw muscles with massage
- Reducing jaw swelling with medications
- Use of a bite guard to eliminate damage caused by grinding and clenching
- Adjusting the bite for proper teeth alignment
With over 30 years of experience offering exceptional dental services to our community, at Cheyenne Mountain Dental Group, we are still continuing our journey, under the leadership of Dr. Stephen Davis along with Dr. Bill Bertsch. For more details and appointments, call us at (719) 576-3276, book online, or visit us directly at 3605 Star Ranch Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906.