TMJ Explained

TMJ is an abbreviation you have probably heard, but may not understand. choosing-general-dentistIt stands for the temporomandibular joint, which connects your skull and jawbone, and pain in that area can be debilitating. Everyday activities like eating and yawning can be very painful for those who suffer from TMJ disorder, and even at rest some patients can’t find relief. Treatment is important to regain quality of life.

Experts admit it is difficult to always identify what causes TMJ pain in some patients. Muscle tension is believed to be one main cause, exacerbated by stress, insomnia, and poor diet. A large number of patients who have TMJ pain also are guilty of teeth grinding or clenching. In some cases, a history of improper orthodontic treatment can cause jaw imbalances that result in TMJ disorder. Extended time spent in the dental chair with the jaw held open widely can also be linked to this problem.

The symptoms of TMJ vary, but commonly difficulties biting and chewing are evident. Clicking or popping sounds when the mouth is opened or closed may occur. The jaw may even become locked in an open or closed position. Headaches and earaches can also arise with the TMJ disorder. Some patients experience a constant dull ache in the jaw area, even while at rest.

Seeking care from a qualified dentist or specialist is advised for those who have TMJ symptoms. Diagnosis will begin with a dental examination and a bite test, and probably X-rays to look for jawbone damage. The doctor will want to rule out other issues like infection or nerve damage before deciding upon TMJ disorder.

TMJ treatment will likely be progressive, starting with gentle massage and physical manipulations of the area. Stretching and rest will be advised, as well as heat or ice. Muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed, and customized mouth guards are often provided to eliminate teeth grinding. Usually a combination of these treatments allows less jaw stress so that TMJ pain dissipates. Severe cases may require surgery.

If you live in the Morehead City, NC area and you would like a consultation to discuss TMJ treatment, contact us today.

Comprehensive Dental Center

Dr. Jack T. Winchester
3705 Symi Circle
Morehead City, NC 28557

Our practice is conveniently located in Morehead City, NC

Our Hours
Monday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Tuesday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Wednesday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Thursday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Friday: Closed

Directions to our office