woman eating a salad

Have you ever wondered what allows you to open your mouth, talk, and chew?

The temporomandibular joint is a hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull. These complex joints, along with several muscles allow you to move your jaw up, down, and side to side.

When the mandibular bone and surrounding joints are properly aligned, activities such as chewing, and talking will occur smoothly. However, if the structures are not synchronized in movement, several problems may occur.

Understanding the symptoms and causes behind a TMJ disorder is essential when seeking treatment, as you’ll be able to determine what therapy is best for you.

What is TMJ?
graphic of skull with jaw pain

The abbreviation “TMJ” actually refers to the two joints that connect your lower jaw to the skull rather than the disorder itself.

Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are disorders of the jaw muscles, the mandibular joint, and the nerves linked in our face. When the joints become irritated or inflamed, it can cause serious discomfort and tenderness of the jaw, as well as facial pain.

Some of the most common symptoms of a TMD include:

  • Headaches
  • Earaches or ringing in the ears
  • Clicking, locking, or popping of the jaw
  • Limited mouth motions
  • The upper and lower jaw no longer fit properly

While there’s no actual cause of a TMD, there are several factors that can contribute to this disorder. Bruxism, which is the involuntary clenching or grinding of the teeth, puts excessive strain on the jaw joints and muscles that control mouth movement.

A temporomandibular disorder may also result from a trauma to the jaw, neck, or head. This may cause the jaw joints to become displaced, making chewing and talking incredibly painful and difficult.

TMJ Treatments
A temporomandibular disorder has multiple causes, which means there are several different ways to treat them.

When a TMD is diagnosed, your doctor will consider factors such as your age, medical history, and the symptoms you’re experiencing when developing a treatment plan.

Depending on the severity of the symptoms and the level of pain you’re experiencing, TMJ disorders may be treated with self-care practises at home.

If the TMJ is not in the proper position when your jaw moves, an oral or maxillofacial surgeon will likely recommend certain therapies including acupuncture, tissue mobilization, and other physical therapies.

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Treatment

image of man with jaw pain

Jaw pain may not seem like a pressing issue, especially if it comes and goes.

However, leaving a TMJ disorder untreated can have serious repercussions on your health, including chronic pain and a dislocated jaw. In most cases, TMJ disorders don’t require surgical solutions and can be treated with physical therapy and medication.

Our expert dental team at Pretoria Bridge Dental strives to provide exceptional customer service by creating a friendly and welcoming environment. We work hard with our patients to determine the cause of their TMJ pain and design custom treatments to help with the symptoms they’re undergoing.

If you’re experiencing any symptoms of a temporomandibular joint disorder, get in touch with us today and schedule your next visit.