The temporomandibular joint moves whenever you open your mouth to talk, chew, or yawn. Problems with these actions indicate you may have TMJ issues that need dental care. You may have a TMJ disorder if you have experienced:
Even if you feel no pain or fatigue in your jaw joint, TMJ can cause problems such as toothaches and neck aches. You may also suspect TMJ if a doctor of dentist can’t find another cause of:
Why you have a TMJ disorder depends on your medical history and your genetics. Arthritis or injury are common causes. People who clench or grind their teeth can also develop TMJ disorders.
Your dentist will go through your medical history to help diagnose TMJ. They will feel your jaw’s movement and examine your range of motion, and gently press on specific sites on your jaw to determine the points of pain.
A soft diet, ice packs, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can temporarily help to ease your symptoms of TMJ. The dentists may also recommend lifestyle changes, such as stress-reduction techniques and different ways to hold your jaw.
Something that can help you is a night guard to prevent you from grinding or clenching in your sleep. Your dentist can fit you with one. In some cases, you may need a splint, which you wear to prevent clenching all day long.
Dental work that involves replacing missing teeth or restoring your existing teeth to balance the biting surfaces can help, especially if you have a TMJ disorder caused by a bite misalignment.