If you experience jaw pain or other changes in your face or jaw, you may have a condition called temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Help is available through the care of Suzette Nikas, DDS, and her team at Hazel Dell Dentistry in Carmel, Indiana. Scheduling a diagnostic exam begins with a quick phone call or a visit to the online scheduling page.
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is a common disorder affecting the joints that connect your jawbone to your skull. You have one temporomandibular joint on either side of your face.
These joints work as sliding hinges, allowing your jaw to open and close, as well as move from side to side. When a problem arises within the joint, pain and other symptoms often develop.
Many different things can cause TMJ, including traumatic injury, arthritis, a problem with your bite, or even normal wear-and-tear. Some people with TMJ experience bruxism, which is the habit of grinding their teeth during sleep. Bruxism can strain the muscles in your jaw and lead to joint problems, including TMJ.
Understanding the changes TMJ brings helps you know when to schedule a diagnostic exam. Some of the symptoms of this disorder include:
Your dentist can perform a basic exam and perhaps use advanced imaging to determine if you have TMJ.
There are several ways to treat TMJ. If your symptoms are mild, you may be able to address them at home through self care. Try using moist heat or cold packs to relieve discomfort and over-the-counter medications for pain.
If your symptoms cause you to change your eating habits or prevent you from speaking, yawning, or chewing normally, your dentist offers custom-fitted splints and night guards. These are removable dental devices that change the way your teeth fit together.
Splints are worn during the day, and night guards are worn during sleep. Both create a subtle change in jaw position that relieves tension and decreases pain related to TMJ.
In some cases, surgical intervention is the best way to correct jaw dysfunction. Surgery is never the first course of action and is only considered after less invasive treatments fail to yield the desired results.
If you’d like to learn more about available treatment options or determine if your symptoms indicate TMJ, booking a visit at Hazel Dell Dentistry is fast and easy online or by phone.