Have you been noticing that the term “TMJ” keeps popping up as you search the Internet for answers to your jaw discomfort? If so, your symptoms may be pointing to an underlying dental concern that we refer to as TMJ disorder (TMD). The bad news is that when left untreated, TMD can lead to significant damage and discomfort. The wonderful news is that when you visit us for a diagnosis and treatment, we can protect your jaw joints from damage, improve comfort, and address factors contributing to the issue at hand.
TMJ Disorder Basics
TMD occurs when your temporomandibular joints (TMJs – or your jaw joints) are no longer functioning properly. In some cases, this happens when the joints become damaged. In other instances, your misaligned bite may result in strain that exhausts and irritates your TMJs. In fact, there are many potential causes – not a single cause – that may result in this dental disorder.
If you suffer from TMJ disorder, you will find that you suffer from a variety of symptoms, many of which may initially seem quite alarming. Common symptoms include the following:
- Your jaw makes a cracking or popping sound
- You occasionally experience a jaw that won’t open or close (temporarily)
- You may experience discomfort or difficulty with chewing
- Your jaw joints may feel exhausted or sore – soreness may expand to surrounding areas including your neck and shoulders
- In some cases, patients experience tinnitus (ringing in your ears)
We may suggest a variety of treatments for your TMD. If your teeth are misaligned, orthodontic treatment like Invisalign may assist in addressing the problem. We may also suggest that you wear an oral device similar to a mouth guard that shifts your jaws into a restful position while you sleep.