The Temporo-Mandibular Joint, or, “TMJ” is the complex joint that makes it possible to move your jaw.
This joint can, all too easily, become affected by TMJ disorder, otherwise known as TMD.
The cause of TMJ disorder is not always clear. Sometimes the problem is a result of malformation, or malocclusion, that puts stress on the joint. Other times it can be linked to brute force injury or even repetitive motion injuries such as bruxism (grinding the teeth) and clenching the jaw. Sometimes the small disc of cartilage that cushions the joint slips out of its natural place and the cushioning is no longer where it is needed. Other times it is due to conditions such as arthritis. Stress has been shown to have a marked impact on the condition.
In certain cases, TMJ may actually be asymptomatic. But most patients don’t start looking for treatment until there is some problem to be addressed. Symptoms include:
- pain, tenderness, swelling, in the face, jaw joint area, or neck
- limited range of motion when opening jaw
- jaw that gets stuck or locked into position
- clicking, popping, or grating sound when opening the jaw or when chewing
- difficulty chewing or the feeling that the bite is suddenly “off”
Because dental pain is often difficult to pinpoint, a careful examination will be required to diagnose your TMJ disorder. Sometimes, a misalignment can be addressed and help the problem. Most often, a night-time mouthguard can be prescribed to help alleviate issues with night-time bruxism and clenching. Relaxation techniques may also be recommended. If you’re experiencing jaw pain, call Upstate Prosthodontics at (864) 232-3882 to schedule a consultation or request an appointment here. We hate pain as much as you do, let us help you out of yours! We look forward to meeting you.