Dentists are concerned not only with the teeth, but also with the joints and muscles that help you chew and talk. When the muscles and joints of the jaw experience increased force than normal, due to clenching, grinding, or another stimulus, they can start to feel painful and exhibit some clicking and/or popping. If you are experiencing chronic jaw pain or clicking/popping, you may be a candidate for TMJ therapy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need treatment for a TMJ disorder?
Only your dentist can diagnose a TMJ disorder, but there are some signs and symptoms that could indicate a problem:
- Your jaw “pops” in and out of place or
- Your jaw get stuck in certain positions
- You cannot open your mouth very wide
- You have swelling or pain on one or both sides of your face
- You have chronic headaches or upper shoulder pain
- You frequently experience dizziness
- You have problems with your ears, such as earaches, ringing, or difficulty hearing
What should I expect during TMJ treatment?
Your dentist will first perform a complete examination of the joints and muscles of the jaw. They will then determine the best treatment specific to your symptoms, which may include muscle relaxers, a night guard, a splint, or in more severe cases, additional therapy.
Will I need to make any lifestyle changes to help prevent complications of TMJ?
Yes. TMJ disorders are often worsened by stress and the habits that form due to stress. For example, if you tend to clench your jaw or grind your teeth when under stress, you may find that your TMJ symptoms worsen during those times. Your dentist will discuss additional therapies that can slow the progression of symptoms.