TMJ disorder describes a variety of conditions affecting the temporomandibular joint (the point where the jaw opens and closes) and nerves related to chronic facial pain. These problems are now more easily diagnosed and treated than in the past. Women are twice as likely to be affected than men.
Although the exact cause of the disorder is unknown, some factors are related to an improper bite, injury, arthritis, severe stress or a combination of factors. Clenching or grinding teeth may develop from stress or as part of a sleep disorder. This can tire muscles and create painful spasms, causing even more pain.
Symptoms include jaw pain, soreness or stiffness while chewing, biting or yawning; a clicking or grinding noise while opening and closing your mouth; aching on the side of the head or neck; burning sensation in the mouth or tongue; as well as a restricted range of jaw movement or ‘locking’ of the jaw in an open or closed position.
In most cases, these symptoms can be successfully treated to reduce or eliminate your discomfort. We may prescribe a multiple-phase treatment plan. Treatment may be simple, with only minor corrective treatment necessary. Like avoiding chewing gum, applying moist heat or ice, physical therapy or learning relaxation techniques. Or it could require multiple steps depending on the degree of severity. Treatment can include wearing bite plates, adjusting the bite, replacement of defective restorations, orthodontics, or even surgery. Postponing treatment can result in more damage to the joint, muscles, or teeth.