The comprehensive dental services of Park Avenue Dental address not only our patients’ teeth, but also the issues, diseases, and disorders of all parts of the mouth, including the jaw. One particular part of the jaw that can suffer a disorder that Park Avenue Dental treats is the temporomandibular joint, or the TMJ. This joint allows you to chew, talk, and yawn by connecting your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull in front of each ear and enabling your jaw to move up and down and side to side. The disorders that affect this joint as well as your jaw and the muscles in your face are called temporomandibular joint disorders, and Park Avenue Dental provides treatments for these disorders.
The Causes and Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
While the exact details of what causes TMJ disorders and why remain unknown, problems with the muscles in your jaw or with the parts of the joint itself generally seem to contribute to the symptoms of these disorders. Therefore, the causes of TMJ disorders can include:
- Injuries to the jaw, the joint, or the muscles of the head and neck
- Arthritis in the joint
- Movement of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the joint
- Pressure to the joint applied by grinding and clenching the teeth
- Stress that instinctively tightens facial and jaw muscles
The symptoms of TMJ disorders are varied, as TMJ disorders can be temporary or extend over a period of many years, and they can also affect either one or both sides of the face. Some of the many different symptoms of TMJ disorders are:
- Pain, discomfort, or tenderness in the face, neck, shoulders, jaw joint area, or in and around the ear during such activities as chewing, speaking, or widely opening the mouth
- Difficulty opening your mouth wide
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds heard when opening or closing the mouth or chewing
- Jaws that “lock” or get stuck in the mouth is open or closed
- Swelling on the side of the face
- Aches such as toothaches, headaches, neck aches, and earaches
- Hearing problems
- Ringing in the ears
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact Park Avenue Dental as soon as possible in order to schedule an appointment.
The Diagnosis of TMJ Disorder
In order to properly diagnose TMJ disorder or any other conditions that may be causing these symptoms, such as tooth decay, sinus problems, or gum disease, we will conduct a thorough examination. The examination will involve checking the joint for pain or tenderness and listening for clicks, pops, or grating sounds that happen during joint movement. We will test for proper function of the jaw and for problems with the bite or facial muscles. If necessary, we will take x-rays in order to eliminate the possibility of other problems or use magnetic resonance imaging or computer tomography to obtain a more detailed view of the joint.
The Treatments of TMJ Disorders
Due to the amount of variance in TMJ disorders, our dentists may suggest one or more of several different treatment options. The most traditional remedies for TMJ disorders are medications, splints or night guards, and dental work. These remedies can reduce pain, relieve stress, correct the bite, minimize clenching or grinding, replace missing teeth, or balance teeth surfaces through the use of crowns, bridges, or braces.
TMJ Treatment at Park Avenue Dental
Your Park Avenue Dental dentist will recommend the best possible treatment options to you after a thorough evaluation and detailed discovery of your TMJ disorder. For your convenience, Park Avenue Dental will conduct the necessary procedures in our office or work with a specialist to supply you with the TMJ treatment that will meet your needs. To learn more about these TMJ treatment options, contact our office today!