Headaches, a jaw that is stiff or clicks, or radiating facial pain might be related to TMJ disorder. Marietta dentist Dr. Cheek has been diagnosing and treating TMJ disorders since 2002. Her extensive training and experience will help identify the cause of your symptoms, as well as the right treatment options.
What Is TMJ Disorder?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the temporal bone on the side of your head to your lower jaw, or mandible. The joint includes a cartilaginous disk, and when it functions properly, you can easily speak, chew, and yawn without pain or discomfort.
Symptoms of TMJ Dysfunction
TMJ dysfunction can cause a variety of symptoms. If you have some of the symptoms listed below, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have TMJ dysfunction, so an examination is required.
- Chronic earaches
- Chronic headaches
- Jaw clicking, locking, popping, or stiffness
- Radiating facial, jaw, or neck pain
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- A change in the way your upper and lower teeth fit together
What Causes the Disorder?
Several factors can put stress on the joint, displace it, and cause the disorder and related symptoms. Some factors include:
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Improper bite
- Malpositioned jawbone
- A displaced or damaged disk
Minor cases of TMJ disorder can often be managed with at-home care and limiting stress on the joint. Recommendations might include:
- Alternating ice and heat packs on the side of your face to reduce swelling and help the muscles relax
- Specific jaw exercises
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Botox injections into the affected muscles (See our Botox page for more information about this treatment.)
- Avoiding chewing gum and chewy or sticky foods
- Stress-reduction techniques to limit clenching or teeth grinding
- Reconstructive dentistry
- Orthodontic treatment for a misaligned bite (Read our Invisalign page to learn how invisible braces can be used to correctly align your teeth.)
- An oral appliance to reposition your jaw and reduce teeth grinding while you sleep
Relief for Your TMJ Pain
Dr. Cheek has been diagnosing and treating TMJ disorder since 2002. She received extensive post-graduate training in occlusion, TMJ disorder, and complex restorative dentistry from the Dawson Academy. She understands how an unbalanced bite affects your oral health and can cause discomfort.
If you think you are suffering from the disorder, don’t try to self-diagnose and treat it. An examination and evaluation are needed to provide an accurate diagnosis and the right treatment options. Call us to schedule an appointment for an exam, or request an appointment online.