Dr. Robert Levens wants you to be comfortable and confident with your smile. If you’re experiencing discomfort in your teeth or jaw, the problem may stem from TMJ pain. In today’s blog, Levens Family Dentistry explains what’s behind TMJ pain and disorders, and how these issues can affect your teeth.
Definition of TMJ
TMJ refers to the temporomandibular (tem-puh-roe-man-DIB-u-lur) joint. Most of us commonly refer to it as the jaw joint. It’s the part of the skull that connects your lower jaw — or mandible — to the rest of your head just in front of your ears. This joint, and the ligaments and muscles associated with it, allow your teeth to chew properly.
Factors Causing TMJ Disorders
TMJ disorders may cause pain or discomfort in your jaw joint and the muscles that allow your jaw to move. Pain might come from a combination of factors, such as an injury, genetics, and arthritis. The jaw joint may erode and come out of alignment. Doctors refer to this misalignment as malocclusion. Misalignment of your jaw could lead to a wrong bite that affects how you eat, hear, and even sleep. People with TMJ pain could also be grinding their teeth, a condition called bruxism. All of these factors could lead to pain and discomfort.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
TMJ problems might manifest in several ways in your mouth. A dentist can help with these symptoms and recommend a treatment option.
You may experience:
- Pain in one or both jaw joints where they meet your skull
- Pain or tenderness in your jaw
- Aching pain near or in your ear
- Aching facial pain
- Locking of the joint that makes it hard to open or close your mouth
- Difficulty chewing or pain from chewing
If you have any of these symptoms and they are persistent, you need to see a dentist, doctor, or TMJ specialist. Any of these medical professionals can recommend a treatment based on your situation. A dentist will examine your jaw and look for anything amiss. If he or she feels you’re suffering from some kind of problem with your jaw, a dentist may order dental X-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI.
Treating TMJ Pain
Your dentist can recommend treatment for TMJ pain. This may include over-the-counter or prescription pain medications as well as prescription muscle relaxants. You may need to wear a device over your teeth to help move your jaw back into alignment. Physical therapy and working your jaw muscles in certain ways may also help.
Contact Us If You Have TMJ Pain
Levens Family Dentistry can help if you are experiencing TMJ pain in your jaw. We offer compassionate care, a thorough diagnosis, and a treatment option that’s right for you. Request an appointment today, or give us a call at (719) 574-1705.