You sit down to eat your plate piled high with turkey, gravy, green beans, and more. Yet when you chew, you notice an uncomfortable sensation: Your jaw keeps clicking. No one else seems to hear or notice it, but you find it annoying. By the end of the night, your jaw slightly aches. Could you be one of the many people suffering from TMJ disorder?
What Is TMJ Disorder?
You may already have heard about TMJ disorder, at least in passing. Everyone has a TMJ, which is the joint at the hinge of your jaw. When the TMJ functions normally, it enables your lower jaw to move up and down and from side to side.
Patients diagnosed with TMJ disorder have trouble making their jaws move comfortably and consistently. Some of the more common symptoms of TMJ disorder include clicking of the jaw joint when chewing or speaking, pain at the jaw joint site, jaws that lock temporarily in an open position, and pain that radiates from the jaw joint into the head, neck, or even shoulders.
How is TMJ Disorder Diagnosed?
Your dentist can help you figure out if you might have TMJ disorder, especially if you have recently noticed an uptick in red flags. Not all dental professionals focus on disorders of the TMJ, so be sure to ask before making any appointments with a new dentist.
No one test determines if a patient has TMJ disorder. Nevertheless, trained dentists can evaluate and analyze all your signs to figure out if you are probably experiencing this common condition. If you are, you have several options for treatment.
Possible Treatments for TMJ Disorder
Jaw therapy can help reduce the everyday problems associated with TMJ disorder. Therapies can include the creation of night guards to keep your jaw in a neutral position while you are asleep. Night guards have the secondary benefit of stopping you from grinding your teeth, which can be an offshoot habit for people with TMJ disorder.
Another therapy can involve having you undergo regular facial and muscular exercises to strengthen the soft tissues around the jaw joint. You might also be asked to apply hot or cold compresses to your jaw joint routinely to lessen swelling.
If necessary, your dentist may suggest that you consider surgical intervention. Surgeries for TMJ disorder can readjust the jaw and enable it to work properly. Be sure to talk to our office about all your TMJ disorder treatment choices so you can avoid dealing with jaw clicking and sticking at future meals and gatherings by scheduling a consultation today!