Symptoms of TMJ Disorder? Here’s What You Should Do
If you’ve ever felt clicking or popping in your jaw, you might have considered it more of an annoyance than something to see a doctor about. However, these subtle symptoms could be a sign of an underlying disorder in your temporomandibular joint, also known as TMJD. This joint is responsible for facilitating movement in the jaw. When the joint or cartilage inside of it is damaged or moved outside of its proper alignment, the symptoms can become very uncomfortable and difficult to miss. They might include:
- A clicking or popping sound when opening and closing the mouth
- Grating of the jaw when opening or closing it
- Pain in either or both of the temporomandibular joints
- Pain in the jaw
- Pain that radiates around the ear or into the face
- Difficulty chewing
- A jaw that locks in place
If you have any of these symptoms, it is possible that you could be suffering from TMJD. So what should you do about it?
Step One: Get a Proper Diagnosis
Anytime you are in persistent pain or notice changes to your body that you are concerned about, you should see a healthcare professional. When it comes to TMJD, getting a diagnosis means finding an LA dentist who is highly trained and skilled in the treatment of temporomandibular joint disorders.
Your dentist will conduct a physical exam to evaluate your jaw’s range of motion and listen to the sounds your jaw makes when opening and closing. You will also be checked for tender areas around the jaw. In some cases, diagnostic imaging, such as dental x-rays, may be necessary to confirm a diagnosis and rule out any other conditions that could be contributing to your jaw pain. Based on the results of your exam, your dentist will determine if TMJD is present, and if so, how to address it.
Step Two: Get Treatment
Treatment for TMJD can vary from lifestyle changes to surgical intervention. The goal is to treat this condition in the most conservative, yet effective way possible. Each person’s treatment is personalized to fit their individual needs based on the severity of their symptoms and their cause. A typical prescription for TMJD treatment could include:
- The use of oral devices (splints) to prevent nighttime clenching and grinding
- The replacement of missing teeth that are contributing to jaw imbalance
- Corrective treatments for a misaligned bite
- Medications to help relieve muscle tension and reduce inflammation and swelling
- Corrective jaw exercises
If you think you might be suffering with temporomandibular joint disorder, don’t wait to get the help you need. TMJD symptoms can worsen over time, making them more difficult to treat. Contact our team to schedule an appointment with an LA TMJ dentist and begin the path to a pain-free tomorrow.
Disclaimer: Obviously, every patient’s case is different, and needs to be properly diagnosed and treated by a healthcare professional. Please see your healthcare professional or contact us for an appointment.