Getting Help for TMJ Disorder
It is estimated that over 10 million people in the United States suffer from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Known as TMJ disorder or TMD, this condition causes discomfort and dysfunction in and around the joints and muscles that move the jaw. Symptoms of TMJ disorder include pain or tenderness in the jaw, difficult or painful chewing, ear and facial aches, and locking or clicking of the jaw. If you are experiencing the symptoms of TMJ disorder, undergo a comprehensive evaluation at our Idaho Falls practice. Dr. Mark Tall can recommend solutions to minimize your pain and end your discomfort. To schedule a consultation, contact our friendly practice today.
Understanding the Anatomy of the Jaw
The TMJs are located on the sides of your head in front of your ears. If you touch this area and open your mouth, you can feel the motion of the joint. Its purpose is to connect the jawbone to the skull, and it allows the jaw to move up and down and side to side. A shock-absorbing disc ensures smooth movement. Unfortunately, problems with the TMJ are all too common. Because the TMJs are in constant use, they are subject to excess pressure and stress that can cause a range of symptoms.
Possible Causes of Your Symptoms
Problems with the TMJ may result from:
- A misaligned or eroded disc
- Cartilage damage due to arthritis
- A severe blow to the TMJ area
- Bite or tooth misalignment
- Chronic tooth grinding (bruxism), which may occur due to stress
Due to the various causes and symptoms of TMJ disorder, the condition can be difficult to diagnose and treat. One diagnostic approach is to rule out other known causes of pain in the head and face. Discomfort in this area could stem from a range of conditions, including ear infections, sinus infections, headaches, nerve-related facial pain (facial neuralgia), or problems with the teeth. Dr. Tall will begin by taking a detailed account of your medical and dental history. He will then examine the areas that are giving you problems, which might include observing your jaw’s range of motion, feeling your jaw when you open and close your mouth, and pressing on different areas to detect locations of discomfort. Dr. Tall may also identify indicators of TMJ disorder, such as tooth wear and gum recession caused by chronic teeth clenching and grinding, or misalignment of the bite and teeth. Finally, he may take x-rays or order a computed tomography (CT) scan, which can provide detailed images of the bones and the disc.
Depending on the results of your tests, Dr. Tall may recommend orthodontic treatment to bring your bite into proper alignment. Another popular treatment option is the use of a mouth guard while you sleep. The mouth guard alleviates pressure on on the TMJs and teeth, thereby minimizing the painful and uncomfortable symptoms of associated with the disorder.
Learn More During a Consultation
If you are suffering from the symptoms of TMJ disorder, contact us today. We offer effective dental treatment in a caring, professional environment.