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.
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:
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:
Your dentist may also:
We accept the majority of dental insurance plans. Please call our office if you do not see yours listed or have any other questions.
We are preferred providers for Delta Dental Premier and Cigna.
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