The temporomandibular joint acts like a hinge connecting your skull to your jaw. Muscles attached to that joint allow you to open and close your mouth. It is one of the most complex joints in your entire body.
Sometimes the temporomandibular joint gets out of place or doesn’t move as smoothly as it should. TMJ disorders affect the joint and muscles controlling jaw movement. TMJ disorders can also impact the cartilage that protects the surrounding bones.
Because the symptoms of TMJ disorders mimic many other conditions, they often go undiagnosed for many patients. Some of the most familiar signs of TMJ problems include:
The cause of a TMJ disorder isn’t always available, and treatment doesn’t always necessitate a cause. But some of the most common causes of TMJ problems include:
Dr. Tsiolas diagnoses TMJ disorders using a dental exam, X-rays, or other imaging tools. He observes the range of motion in your jaw, and listens for the telltale popping and clicking that often come with a TMJ disorder. He also presses around the joint to identify the areas where you have pain or tenderness.
From there, he provides a home treatment plan that includes over-the-counter pain relievers, cold compresses, a mouthpiece to prevent grinding, and jaw exercises to loosen the joint. Relaxation techniques — such as exercise, meditation, and massage — have been shown to reduce the stress that leads to tooth grinding and clenching.
More severe TMJ cases require complex dental treatment. Dr. Tsiolas may need to remove teeth, replace teeth, fill gaps, or adjust your bite to relieve the pain and discomfort you experience. In rare cases where structural issues are involved, surgery is needed to treat TMJ disorders.
Every patient’s case is unique, as is every treatment plan. To discuss your symptoms, call or go online to book your appointment today.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!