TMJ specialist nearby Dr. Mike Deldar in Noblesville:
“You’re sitting at your desk when suddenly you feel something pop in your mouth, followed by an intense pain in the back of your jaw. From that moment on, you’re unable to open your mouth completely. After two weeks of this weird feeling, you finally make it to the doctor and are informed that you have might have TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder).
Is this you? This TMJ 101 article will take you through all you need to know about TMJ, including what it actually is and how it can be treated.”
What is TMJ?
TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint disorder. The temporomandibular joint is where your jawbone meets your skull. It can be injured if you hit it or put too much pressure on it while chewing. A person with this disorder might find it difficult to open and close his/her mouth fully, chew food without pain, talk comfortably without an effort in speaking volume and tongue strength. This could cause difficulty in work performance as well as a decrease in self-esteem.
When trying to eat, a person with TMJ may notice difficulties opening their mouth due to the lack of range of motion in the jaw. They may also experience discomfort when eating crunchy foods or biting into items like apples. Those who have the condition may notice that their teeth do not fit together properly and that they cannot feel their lips against the teeth when biting down. Symptoms of TMJ Disorder are often mistaken for other dental problems such as bruxism (teeth grinding) or misaligned teeth from wearing braces at one point in life.
What are the symptoms of TMJ?
Can TMJ cause jaw pain? Yes! There are many things that can cause jaw pain, but the most common is an issue with your temporomandibular joint. Other symptoms of TMJ may include: Jaw aching, clicking sounds when opening or closing the mouth, neck pain on one side of the head, earaches (a sign of middle ear infection), headaches (often occurring after a night’s sleep), sensitivity to heat or cold, fatigue and chronic sore throat (more common among people who have had their wisdom teeth removed).
A TMJ disorder can cause a list of pain symptoms, and is therefore often hard to diagnose.
What causes TMJ?
If you’re experiencing jaw pain, the cause might be TMJ; but what causes TMJ itself? There are a number of factors that can contribute to this disorder: Stress can lead to clenching or grinding as an outlet for negative emotions. Smoking can worsen any existing problems as nicotine damages nerves. And some prescription drugs—most commonly antidepressants—can cause TMJ symptoms because they increase muscle spasms in the face and neck area when taken regularly over time.
Some people with severe headaches may also experience TMJ due to their medication. In these cases, doctors will often prescribe strong pain medications to manage both conditions at once. Milder headaches can be helped by relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or guided imagery before bedtime. Avoiding stressors is one way to help keep headache frequency down while also managing other health issues like jaw pain caused by TMJ.
TMJ Treatment Options
There are many different treatments for TMJ, depending on the severity of the symptoms. Dr. Deldar at Deldar Dental in Noblesville can help determine the type of TMJ treatment that would work best for you.
If your jaw pain is severe, then an oral appliance may be recommended to relieve some of the pain. This appliance can be made from metal or plastic material, and fits over the teeth to either bring them together or separate them. If none of these treatments relieve your jaw pain then surgery (only last resort) may be an option for you in order to correct any jaw misalignment that might be causing your pain.
Are you looking for a TMJ specialist nearby? Do you have any questions about TMJ and how it relates to jaw pain? Or … are you in pain and want to get rid of your TMJ symptoms fast? Please feel free to contact our office anytime and we’ll be happy to answer any questions or help.