If you have been experiencing jaw pain and discomfort, you could be suffering from temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ/TMD). This condition can cause quite a bit of pain and interfere with your day-to-day life, but with proper treatment from our dentists, you can restore the health of your jaw and eliminate the discomfort of TMJ/TMD.
Without proper intervention, a TMJ disorder can drastically affect your day-to-day life. The joint can wear down over time, causing persistent discomfort or pain. So, be proactive – schedule an appointment to discuss TMJ treatment options with our caring dentists. Call Worcester Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry at (508) 852-1900 to get started now!
TMJ/TMD are terms used to refer to a disorder of the temporomandibular joint. This small, delicate joint is located just below the ear and is responsible for connecting the jaw to the skull. If it becomes inflamed, damaged or malpositioned, it can cause a variety of different symptoms and issues, collectively referred to as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMJ/TMD.
TMJ/TMD can have a number of different causes. A few of the most common causes of TMJ/TMD are teeth grinding (bruxism), a malpositioned bite, excessive jaw muscle use (such as chewing gum for multiple hours per day) and inflammatory diseases like arthritis. Each case is different, which is why TMJ/TMD is often considered very difficult to treat.
There are a few different recognizable symptoms of TMJ/TMD. The symptoms you experience will differ based on the severity of your condition. In more mild cases of TMJ/TMD, your symptoms may be limited to pain and tenderness in your jaw, aching facial pain, and “crackling” or “popping” noises when chewing. You may also have trouble opening your mouth all the way.
In more serious cases of TMJ/TMD, you may experience severe, migraine-like headaches as well as jaw “locking” which may make it difficult to open and close your mouth. You may have trouble chewing properly due to the pain of your TMJ/TMD.
There are a few different ways that dentists can help with TMJ/TMD. If your issue is being caused by a poor bite position, orthodontic treatment like clear aligners or braces may be recommended to correct the position of your teeth and jaw. TMJ/TMD caused by teeth grinding may be addressed using a nightguard to prevent direct, tooth-to-tooth contact.
Another commonly-used treatment is called “oral appliance therapy.” Oral appliances for TMJ/TMD look somewhat like a nightguard or athletic mouthguard. They are designed to shift the position of the jaw and take pressure and stress off of the temporomandibular joint. This encourages proper healing of the joint and helps provide you with relief from the pain and discomfort of TMJ/TMD.
The proper treatment for TMJ/TMD varies based on your condition and its suspected cause. If you are suffering from this disorder, it is important to see a qualified and experienced dentist right away. Contact us now to schedule an appointment.
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