TMJ Disorder Facts from Your Rochester Dentist

TMJ dysfunction is a common disorder that can disrupt a patient’s quality of life. Many times, a person may be unaware they have TMJ disorder until their dentist recognizes tooth wear or malocclusions. Dr. Gilly Calcagno and our team at Calcagno Cosmetic & Family Dentistry discuss TMJ disorder symptoms and their impact on oral health.

What is the TMJ?

The TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint. These joints are located on each side of a person’s jawbone. The TMJ moves translationallly and rotationally to open and close the mouth. Every time a person chews food, speaks, or yawns, the TMJ is used to assist with these functions. Temporomandibular joints connect the lower mandible (jaw) to the skull.

What is TMJ disorder?

TMJ disorder occurs when the temporomandibular joints cannot easily open or close the mouth. This disorder may be a result of a traumatic facial injury or a misaligned bite. Strain on the TMJs also contributes to TMJ dysfunction. Pressure and stress from bruxism and clenching may impede the TMJ’s ability to move the mouth properly. TMJ disorder can also manifest painful symptoms that make eating and speaking uncomfortable.

What are common TMJ disorder symptoms?

Symptoms of TMJ disorder may vary among patients. Common symptoms often include facial pain near the jawbone, recurring headaches, difficulty opening or closing the mouth, and popping sounds that occur during mouth movement.

How is TMJ disorder diagnosed and treated?

At routine oral examinations, Dr. Calcagno will assess jaw health and the alignment of your bite. She will also look for signs of tooth wear (commonly associated with bruxism and TMJ disorder). If Dr. Calcagno determines that you might have TMJ disorder, she may recommend stress reduction techniques, comfortable oral appliances, or restorative dentistry to restore your bite to its proper alignment.

To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact Calcagno Cosmetic & Family Dentistry at (507) 281-3659. We serve patients from St. Charles, Winona, Red Wing, Farmington, Hastings, and the surrounding Rochester communities.