Temporomandibular disorders or TMJ disorders are conditions that affect the jaw joints and surrounding ligaments and muscles. These conditions can result from trauma, improper jaw alignment, arthritis, or wear and tear accumulated over time. Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include headaches, migraines, earaches, clicking in the jaw, facial pain, and tenderness of the jaw.

The most effective method for determining if you have a TMJ disorder is through a professional diagnosis from our dentist in Lake City, FL, at Lake City Dental. We offer TMJ evaluations, which include an examination and assessment of the joint tissue in the jaw’s hinge, as well as TMJ disorder treatment and therapy options. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

What Is TMJ?

TMJ is an acronym for temporomandibular joint. Our temporomandibular joints are located on both sides of the face and in front of the ears. The TMJs connect the lower jawbone to the skull and assist in a variety of jaw-related movements, such as speaking, chewing, and yawning. When the TMJs become injured, a temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD, can occur. Lake City Dental offers a variety of dental services, including TMD treatment.

What Is TMD?

TMD is an acronym for temporomandibular joint disorder, which is also known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction. This refers to any dysfunction of the temporomandibular joints. Oftentimes, people use TMJ and TMD interchangeably. TMJ disorder or dysfunction occurs when the muscles and ligaments around the jaw joints become irritated and inflamed. This condition can be acute (temporary) or chronic (long-lasting), and the resulting pain can range from mild to extreme in severity.

What Causes TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorder causes can vary widely from patient to patient. Oftentimes, however, TMJ disorder can be caused by injury to the jaw joints or the tissues surrounding the jaw joints or the dislocation of the disc located between the ball and socket joint. Other causes of TMD include the following.

  • Bruxism (Teeth Grinding/Clenching)
  • Arthritis In The TMJ
  • Stress
  • Acute Trauma
  • An Improper Bite

Common TMJ Symptoms

Anyone can experience TMJ nerve damage symptoms, yet the condition occurs most commonly among patients 20–40 years of age. Additionally, TMD is more common in women than in men. Some of the most common TMJ symptoms which indicate dysfunction include the following.

  • Jaw Pain
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Earaches
  • Neck Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Difficulty Opening The Mouth
  • Lock Jaw
  • Clicking Or Popping In The Jaw
  • A Tired Feeling In The Face
  • Difficulties With Chewing
  • Ringing In The Ears (Tinnitus)
  • Bite & Alignment Changes
  • Facial Swelling
  • Oral & Jaw Pain
  • Limited Jaw Movement
  • Dizziness

TMJ Treatments

The exact treatment plan used for treating temporomandibular joint disorders can vary from patient to patient. However, understanding the precise cause of jaw pain or other symptoms can help our dentists identify and recommend the optimal treatment to resolve the problem. For minor cases of TMJ dysfunction, taking over-the-counter pain relievers and applying cold compresses to the affected areas of the face can offer temporary relief.

For more severe cases of TMD and for those that prove unresponsive to over-the-counter TMJ pain relief medication, our Lake City dental team may recommend one or more of the following TMJ treatment options. Contact us today to discuss your treatment options for TMJ disorder.

TMJ Exercises

Practicing certain TMJ exercises can help correct imbalances in the jaw muscles and ligaments. These imbalances can develop over time and, as such, TMD therapy via jaw exercises can help reverse the resulting issues and restore comfort and function and reduce pain.

Night Guard

A custom-made plastic bite guard, commonly worn at night and during sleep, can help reduce unconscious clenching of the jaws and grinding of the teeth, which are common symptoms of bruxism. Wearing a night guard allows the muscles to relax, restoring proper alignment.

Restorative Dentistry

TMD can occur as a result of several different oral health issues and dental problems. Getting dental implants, receiving dental fillings, correcting bite problems, and undergoing various other dental services and procedures can effectively treat issues associated with TMJ disorders.

Oral Surgery

In some cases, TMJ surgery or oral surgery of the temporomandibular joints is necessary in order to permanently correct issues related to the TMJ. Temporomandibular joint surgery can help correct jaw issues, restore function, and prevent further pain and discomfort.