TMJ


x-ray rendering of jawbone Your mouth consists of several components that work together to enable your mouth to perform some different functions. One of these components is your temporomandibular joints. You have two of these joints, one on each side of your face. These joints are the point at which your lower jaw, or mandible, connects to your skull. They are ball and socket joints, which enable you to open and close your mouth among other things. With your TMJ, you can bite, chew, speak, and more. If these joints become irritated, it can cause a significant amount of pain that can interfere in your life. At North Atlanta Family Dentistry, we can diagnose the cause of your TMJ issues and provide you with the treatment you need.

What Is TMJ Disorder?


When your TMJ becomes irritated and inflamed, causing you pain in the joints and your jaw, as well as making it difficult to perform different tasks, this is known as TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder is a broad term that refers to any number of conditions that cause these issues. When you have TMJ disorder, biting, chewing, speaking, and more all become painful and difficult. It can be incredibly painful to even simply open your mouth.

Causes of TMJ Disorder


TMJ disorder has many different causes. These include:
•  Bruxism, or the grinding and clenching of your teeth. This condition, which can be caused by stress, alignment issues, certain lifestyle habits, and more, causes excessive pressure on your jaw and your TMJ. Constant pressure can exhaust the muscles and irritate the joints.
•  Facial trauma, which can be caused by car accidents, sports injuries, falls, and more.
•  Jaw dislocation. Even whiplash, which causes temporary dislocation, can lead to tiny tears in the joints that lead to irritation and inflammation.
•  Certain types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

What Are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?


Jaw and joint pain are major indicators that there is an issue. After all, pain is how your body lets you know that something is not quite right. While the most common symptom, it is not the only one. Additionally, the symptoms are not always noticeable right away. Many start small and grow worse over time, meaning that TMJ disorder can go untreated for quite some time until you finally notice something is wrong. Other symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
•  Facial pain and swelling, particularly near where the TMJ are located.
•  Difficulty and pain while eating and speaking.
•  Lockjaw, a condition in which your jaw temporarily becomes immobile.
•  Clicking, popping, or grinding in the TMJ.
•  Chronic headaches or earaches. While seemingly unrelated, these issues are caused by pain radiating from the joints.

How Is TMJ Disorder Diagnosed?


Diagnosing TMJ disorder requires a thorough oral exam. This allows us to determine the cause of your TMJ issues and their severity. We begin by looking over your mouth, checking your jaw and teeth for alignment while also checking your teeth for wear patterns. We also take x-rays of your mouth, which allow us to see below your gumline to determine if there are hidden issues present as well. Once we have determined the cause of your TMJ, we can then recommend the appropriate treatment.

What Treatments Are Available?


Treatments for TMJ disorder vary based on the cause of your TMJ woes as well as the severity. Treatments include:
•  Care at home. This may include over the counter pain relievers, prescription medications, and relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises and yoga.
•  Nightguards. A nightguard is a common treatment for bruxism. It is an oral appliance similar in appearance to a sports mouthguard. You wear it at night, and it works to absorb the impact of grinding and clenching, taking the pressure off of your jaw and your TMJ.
•  Botox injections. Botox can be used to weaken the muscles that cause grinding and clenching, alleviating your TMJ and bruxism related symptoms.
•  Orthodontics. If TMJ disorder is caused by alignment issues, you may be recommended for orthodontic treatment.
•  Oral surgery. In severe cases, or cases in which other treatments have proven ineffective, oral surgery may be recommended to alleviate your symptoms.

With proper treatment, your TMJ can get the relief they need, which can greatly help to improve your oral health and your quality of life. If your TMJ are causing you pain, call North Atlanta Family Dentistry at (470) 387-0500 to schedule your consultation today.

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North Atlanta Family Dentistry | www.smilegeorgia.com | (470) 387-0500
5805 State Bridge Rd Ste L, Johns Creek, GA 30097
208 Pirkle Ferry Rd A Cumming, GA 30040
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