One of the most important parts of your mouth is the temporomandibular joint. This joint connects your jaw to your skull’s temporal bones to allow you to move your mouth up and down for talking and chewing. Unfortunately, some people suffer problems in these joints known as temporomandibular disorders. TMDs are also often called by the all-encompassing term TMJ.
Causes of TMJ
While no dentist can pinpoint one definitive cause of problems within the temporomandibular joint, they do agree that several factors can contribute to it. TMJ most often occurs in people who clench their jaws when stressed or who grind their teeth while sleeping, but it is also common in people who have suffered injuries such as whiplash or blunt force trauma in the area. Arthritis is another cause.
The Diagnosis of TMJ
You cannot begin to treat TMJ unless you know for sure that is what you suffer from. Some issues such as tooth decay, sinus problems or gum disease create symptoms similar to TMJ, so you should always visit a dentist first. When you make an appointment with our dentist, Dr. E. Dale Behner, he will ask you about symptoms such as headaches, problems opening and closing your mouth, or pain when chewing or speaking. He will feel for pain or tenderness in your jaw area and listen for clicking or popping noises as you open and close your mouth. He might also take full x-rays.
How You Can Treat TMJ
Once you are sure you suffer from a temporomandibular disorder, you can begin treatment. You can use over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, eat softer foods in smaller pieces, and use moist cold or hot packs on your jaw. If home remedies do not relieve symptoms, we might prescribe a stronger medication and fit you with a splint or a night guard. These treatments keep your teeth from touching so you cannot grind them while sleeping or clench your jaw during the day.
If you believe you may be suffering from TMJ in Fishers, IN, schedule an appointment with with us. Call 317-348-3926.