Creative Dimensions in Dentistry
Dentists located in Castro Valley, CA & San Leandro, CA
A TMJ disorder can make it hard to chew, speak, or otherwise move your jaw. The dental experts at Creative Dimensions in Dentistry can help relieve your discomfort and get your jaw moving again. TMJ disorders are often difficult to diagnose correctly and it’s sometimes hard to find a doctor with the patience to listen to your TMJ story. With offices in both Castro Valley and San Leandro, California, these skilled dentists are often praised for their warm and caring attitude and their ability to create patient-focused treatment plans. Call today for your appointment or book your visit online.
What is TMJ disorder?
TMJ disorders affect the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), muscles, and ligaments located on both sides of your jawbone near your ears. These joints and supportive soft tissue structures make it possible for you to open and close your mouth. They also control your lower jaw (mandible) as it moves side to side or forward and backward.
Problems affecting your TMJ often become quite debilitating due to the active nature of this joint. Your jaw is involved in many seemingly insignificant movements that are often reflexively repeated throughout your day, such as swallowing. You may never realize how active your jaw is until you experience the discomfort caused by a TMJ disorder.
What causes TMJ disorders?
The TMJ is a ball-and-socket type of joint that contains a disc to help cushion the load on the joint as you rotate, glide, or open your jaw. Anything that prevents this complex system from working properly can result in a painful TMJ disorder.
Conditions that may cause TMJ disorder include:
- Jaw dislocation
- Problems with alignment of your teeth and jaw
- Stress and teeth grinding
What is the treatment for TMJ disorders?
Diagnosing the underlying cause of your TMJ symptoms is vital to an effective treatment strategy. You can expect your dentist to carefully check your TMJ joints for tenderness, clicking, or popping as you move your jaws through a full range of motion, as well as difficulty moving your jaw in any direction. The results of this exam may cause your dentist to refer you to another specialist, such as an orthopedist, for further evaluation and treatment for conditions such as arthritis or other issues within the bony structures of your joint.
Effective TMJ treatment often includes lifestyle changes to “rest” your joint, such as:
- Eating softer foods
- Avoiding chewing gum
- Relaxation techniques such as meditation or biofeedback therapy to help control jaw tension
- Exercises that strengthen your jaw muscles
Your dentist may also:
- Prescribe medications for discomfort and inflammation
- Design a night guard or bite plate to decrease clenching and teeth grinding
- Adjust your bite by reshaping your teeth
- Recommend orthodontic treatment to realign your teeth
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