What is TMJ? Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options

What is Temporal Mandibular Joint disorder (TMJ)?

Do you have Temporal Mandibular Joint disorder (TMJ)? You could suffer unbearable pain or minor discomfort while opening and closing your mouth. But it can get worse any day. Therefore it’s better to be aware of what TMJ is, its symptoms, causes, and treatment. This article explains all that, along with answering the most commonly asked question – Do braces fix TMJ?

What is TMJ?

The temporal mandibular joint is the joint that connects your lower jawbone to your skull. If this joint is not in proper alignment, it can cause pain and other problems.
TMJ disorder can occur over time, as the ligaments and muscles that hold the joint in place are stretched or damaged by repetitive motions. However, it can sometimes happen suddenly, through some traumatic event.

TMJ is designed to move for talking and chewing. However, if it slides too far out of the joint, it leads to pain and other problems.

What Causes TMJ?

Not much can be said with conviction about the exact cause of TMJ in a person. However, some behaviors are identified that majorly contribute. Check out the most common causes of TMJ. Which one do you relate to?

  • Being stressed and overworked
  • Getting arthritis in the temporal mandibular joint
  • Bruxism leads to clenching and grinding of teeth
  • Misalignment of bite
  • Blow or trauma to TMJ or its surrounding tissues
  • Disc in the joint getting dislocated

What are the Symptoms of TMJ?

Are you not sure that the pain and discomfort you are facing are due to TMJ only? Following are the symptoms that indicate that you are dealing with TMJ. However, it is always advisable to consult your dentist for a proper diagnosis.

  • Constant pain and discomfort in the facial and surrounding areas such as the neck, ears, shoulder, and head.
  • Sound of clicking or popping sensation when you open or close your mouth. It is the most apparent symptom of TMJ but can also indicate other disorders. Therefore a dentist’s discretion is advisable.
  • Pain in teeth and jaw.
  • Buzzing sound in the ears.
  • Pain and stiffness in the jaw.
  • Feeling pain while chewing. It can also get difficult to chew food at times.
  • The jaw locking when you open or close it.
  • Sensitivity, swelling, and inflammation on the face.
  • Pain and discomfort while opening your mouth.
  • Feeling of weakness in face and jaw.

What are the Treatment Options for TMJ?

There are many treatment options available for TMJ. And you might be surprised, but the most effective way to treat TMJ is with braces. There are some other options also that orthodontists suggest for TMJ treatment, such as night guard and pain medication.

  • Braces
    If a malocclusion is what leads to your TMJ, the braces can help. Braces are the most proven way to treat bite issues like open and crossbite. And these bite issues are often behind the problem of TMJ. That’s where brace and TMJ connect. There is one more scenario when braces help TMJ, and that is when TMJ results from bruxism.
    Orthodontic treatment for bruxism which is done to stop people from grinding and clenching, can also treat TMJ. And these orthodontic treatments include braces and Invisalign.
  • Night Guard
    A night guard helps keep your teeth apart, preventing them from grinding and clenching against each other. It will be helpful in case the symptoms of bruxism are dragging you towards the TMJ.
  • Pain Medications
    You can easily get painkillers and muscle relaxers over the counter. Your dentist can also prescribe you some if you ask. These medications temporarily ease your symptoms so you can carry on your daily schedule. However, a simple thing to remember is not to overdo these pain medications.
    With so many treatment options, there is no need to endure the pain and discomfort of TMJ anymore. Meet your orthodontist for suggestions on the suitable treatment of TMJ in your case.

Want to get rid of annoying TMJ ASAP? Contact us to get the best TMJ treatment in Carmel & Briarcliff Manor, NY.

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Dr. Satish Pai

Dr. Satish Pai – an Ivy League trained dentist and a faculty at Columbia University, believes that a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great while boosting confidence.  As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics, he is dedicated to not only creating perfect smiles for his patients but also educating people with his engaging articles about all things related to a perfect smile and oral health. Spending time with his family always brings a smile on his face. 

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