The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your lower jaw bone to the skull. When the disk that composes this joint shifts out of position, it can cause various health complications. At Baker Family Dentistry, we have the necessary expertise in recognizing and treating TMJ disorders.
What Causes TMJ?
There are several causes of TMJ disorder. Some patients have a history of grinding or clenching their teeth, which can stress the joint by tightening the jaw muscles. While for some others, a change in the joint’s function due to an injury or a progressive disease can damage the joint directly or stretch and tear the ligaments in the area. As a result, the cartilage disc that cushions the joint can shift out of position, leading to jaw or neck pain, misalignment, clicking and popping noises, and a locking sensation when the edges of the joint meet.
Symptoms of TMJ
The first symptom of a TMJ disorder is jaw discomfort. Other symptoms of TMJ include
- Difficulty in chewing and biting
- Facial pain
- Locking of the joint
- Clicking noise when you open your mouth
- Limited jaw movement
TMJ Treatment Options
The TMJ disorders are usually treated with non-invasive procedures, but they can vary depending on the nature of the disorder. Our dentist, Dr. Lisa J Baker, will comprehensively examine your jaw and evaluate the condition to plan a proper course of treatment that will help to improve the function and comfort of your jaw. These treatments will consist of a team approach based on appropriate self-care and professional help to attain the best results.
Our primary goal is to get you relief from joint pain and muscle spasms. We accomplish this with painkillers, muscle relaxants, or anti-inflammatory pills like injectable steroids that ease swelling and pain in the area.
In addition to medication, we recommend a self-care routine that includes particular jaw and posture exercises, applying heat or ice compresses, consuming a soft food diet to reduce stress in the area, and resting techniques like keeping the teeth apart when not eating or swallowing.
If these measures do not work, we may prescribe mouth appliances to help ease your TMJ discomfort. A transparent plastic device called a nightguard can be fabricated to fit over your teeth to keep them apart and prevent grinding. The device will work to relax the muscles and reduce pain besides preventing damage from grinding. The night guards must be worn twenty-four hours a day or just at night, depending on the situation.
To learn more about our TMJ treatments, visit our office, Baker Family Dentistry, at 4217 E 3rd St., Bloomington, IN 47401. You can also reach us at (812) 332-2000.