Understanding TMJ Disorder and Treatment Options

Do you wake up with a sore jaw or throbbing headache? Does sometimes opening your jaw or chewing result in pain? Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) could be the likely cause. This disorder occurs when the joints (TMJs) that connect the lower jaw to the skull become injured, inflamed, or strained, resulting in numerous unpleasant symptoms.

Woman suffering from toothache

Our team at JSP Dental understands the discomfort of TMJ disorder. We’ve encountered patients who have spent years popping painkillers or moving from doctor to doctor for TMJ pain relief. Our dentistsand the team offer effective TMD diagnosis and treatment to help you live a pain-free lifestyle.

What is TMJ disorder?

Temporomandibular joints are hinge-like joints located on either side of the head. These joints have remarkable flexibility, which helps the jaws move up, down, sideways, and back and forth when talking, eating, smiling, yawning, etc. Simply put, these joints control every movement you do with your mouth. Given the crucial role TMJs play in our daily activities, any dysfunction can lead to intense pain and a substantial decline in the overall quality of life.

TMJ disorder can cause numerous symptoms, including:

  • Chronic headaches and migraines
  • Jaw pain and soreness
  • Locked jaws
  • Painful chewing
  • Pain in the face, ears, and upper back
  • Numbness
  • Clicking sounds when opening and closing jaws

Beyond the joints themselves, TMJ disorder affects the nerves, muscles, blood vessels, and other structures around the jaw, causing widespread discomfort. When you suspect TMJ pain, don’t delay treatment because the condition rarely improves on its own. Instead, schedule an appointment with a TMJ dentist for long-term relief.

How a dentist treats TMJ disorder

Since TMD causes vary, there is never a one-size-fits-all approach to this condition. Since we understand the causes of jaw pain are many, we’ll first diagnose the cause to devise a personalized treatment plan.

One of the leading causes of TMJ pain is bruxism — the forces exerted during teeth grinding “throw” the TMJs out of balance. Patients who grind and clench their teeth often benefit from wearing a custom-fitted nightguard. This mouthpiece prevents the upper and lower teeth from getting into contact, taking tension off the jaw joints and muscles. Continued use of a mouthguard allows the joints to heal and realign, reducing TMJ disorder discomforts.

While oral appliance therapy can be a stand-alone treatment, we can complement it with home remedies, jaw rehabilitation, orthodontics, and other treatments. We’ll explore all treatment options to establish what works best for you.

Learn more about TMJ pain treatment near Trenton, Michigan

Most TMD cases are treatable with conservative treatments like mouthguards. If you suspect TMJ dysfunction, don’t continue suffering alone. Instead, call (734) 676-1333 to schedule an appointment with the JSP Dental team.