West Palm Beach dentist explains TMJ
TMJ is an often-heard phrase in relation to issues with the jaw. However, it’s not always well understood.
The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is the joint that connects the skull to the lower jaw. If you place two fingers just below your ear on the side of your face, you can feel a small indentation. When you open and close your mouth, you can feel the rounded ends of the jaw as they move within the socket of the joint. When the joint is healthy and aligned properly, you should feel no pain in opening and closing your mouth.
Sometimes, people feel pain in joint, hear a clicking sound when they open or close their mouth, or have their jaw lock into a closed or open position. When there is pain that lasts for more than several days, it’s likely that the patient has developed a TMJ disorder. Sometimes the pain can be quite intense and can even cause pain in the head, neck, or face.
The cause of TMJ is unclear, however, certain actions like clenching your jaw, or grinding your teeth can exacerbate TMJ. These actions overwork the joint and cause a disc within the joint to shift or wear down. Clenching and grinding also change the way the top and bottom teeth meet. The trouble is that grinding and clenching are often subconscious actions that happen when people are stressed or even when they are sleeping.
There are indicators that you may have TMJ and you need to see a dentist:
- Pain in your jaw
- Pain in your ear
- Pain in your facial muscles
- Neck or shoulder pain
- A clicking or popping sound in your jaw
- Pain when biting or chewing
- Hearing loss or ringing in your ears
- Your jaw locks
The dentist will ask questions, perform an examination, and order imaging tests to confirm suspicions of TMJ.
Treatment can be simple, like rest and chewing soft foods for a few days. If the diagnosis is more severe, you may need to wear an oral appliance to realign your jaw.
Pure Dental Care, located in West Palm Beach, FL, are skilled at diagnosing and treating TMJ. Don’t live with pain in your jaw or unexplained headaches, call today to schedule an appointment to get started on the path to healthier and pain-free mouth.Back to TMJ/TMD Page