TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint — the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. The TMJ is located just in front of your ears on either side of your jaw. If you experience pain, stiffness, or other problems with your TMJ, you may have a TMJ disorder, also referred to as TMJ dysfunction.
TMJ disorders are afflictions caused by jaw growth problems, overuse or straining of the jaw muscles, arthritis, or other reasons. If TMJ issues are not addressed promptly, the muscles around the jaw and the joint can come out of alignment, making it impossible for them to work together properly. The result can make it difficult for patients to use their jaw comfortably or relax their facial muscles.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
If you experience some or all of the following symptoms, you may suffer from a TMJ disorder:
- Grinding or clenching your teeth
- Waking up with sore or stiff jaw muscles
- Frequent headaches or neck aches
- Stress that leads to more clenching and pain
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds when opening or closing the mouth
- Issues with alignment of teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Problems opening the mouth wide to eat or yawn
Some other factors can contribute to TMJ disorders developing, such as a history of arthritis. Because there are many possible causes of a TMJ disorder, treatments vary depending on the severity and reason for the condition. At Oral Surgery Group, your oral surgeon will take your full condition and health history into account when helping you find a solution.
Treating TMJ Disorders
Sometimes TMJ disorders can be controlled through nonsurgical treatments, and usually, your doctor will exhaust all of these treatment methods before resorting to jaw surgery. Some of the potential treatments for TMJ and jaw problems include
- Resting the jaw and avoiding clenching
- Keeping the teeth apart when not in use
- Improving posture and sitting up straight
- Medications to control pain and reduce inflammation
- Wearing a night guard during sleep to prevent teeth grinding
- Physical therapy and jaw exercises
- Jaw surgery (bite correction, orthognathic, etc.)
Your surgeon will review your condition to help find a treatment plan that works for you.
TMJ Treatment in New Brunswick, NJ, East Brunswick, NJ, and Middlesex, NJ
If you think you may have a TMJ disorder, contact one of our offices in New Brunswick, NJ, East Brunswick, NJ, or Middlesex, NJ, for more information or to schedule an appointment. One of our surgeons will be happy to evaluate your condition and help you find a solution.