Living with TMJ

Living with tmj Dentists in Troy MI

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is responsible for acting as the hinge that connects the jaw to the skull and controls facial movement. However, sometimes this hinge can act up and cause health problems for its owner. TMJ disorder is a condition that negatively affects the facial areas controlling the jaw movement.

Here’s what it’s like to live with a TMJ disorder and how our dentists can help. We’ll also go over what TMJ treatment options we offer to our patients.

If you have any questions about TMJ after reading this article, feel free to contact us and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Causes of TMJ Disorders

Depending on the patient’s unique circumstances, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of their TMJ disorder. There are many factors that can cause or exacerbate this condition. For example, if you have recently sustained an injury to the face, specifically to your jaw joint, you may be at a higher risk of developing a TMJ disorder.

Other causes of TMJ disorders include chronic teeth grinding and arthritis. Specifically, if you have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the temporomandibular joint, you may have a higher risk of getting a TMJ disorder.

TMJ Disorder Symptoms

There are many symptoms that determine a TMJ disorder diagnosis, which you can find below.

  • Tinnitus
  • Headaches
  • Toothaches
  • Neck aches
  • Clicking jaw joint
  • Tenderness or pain in the facial area

How to Manage TMJ Disorder

Most of our patients with TMJ disorders are still able to lead productive lives and have found ways to keep their symptoms under control.

If you wake up with a sore jaw or sensitive teeth, it might be because you’re unconsciously grinding and clenching your teeth at night. When you exert pressure on the jaw, you wake up with pain and discomfort. Our dentists can stop this by creating a custom night guard for you to wear while you sleep.

A night guard is an oral appliance that prevents your upper and lower teeth from making contact. That way, your teeth will meet the protective material of the night guard instead of wearing down your enamel. Likewise, you won’t exert as much pressure on your jaw while you sleep. Night guards stop teeth grinding so you can avoid developing or worsening a TMJ disorder.

When to Consider Surgery

In general, most of our patients with TMJ disorders are able to manage their symptoms and enjoy a good quality of life. If you find that your symptoms are severe or are progressively getting worse over time, it may be worth consulting your primary physician to determine if surgery would be an appropriate course of action.

While surgery is a drastic alternative to what we have recommended in this blog post, some patients experience relief from symptoms after surgical intervention. It should be noted that surgical treatment should be regarded only as a last resort if you don’t experience a lightening in your symptoms through other pain managing tactics.

Learn More About TMJ Disorders

Dr. Kelly Giera is a family dentist in Troy, MI, that offers TMJ treatment to patients. To request an appointment, call Mosaic Dental at (248) 528-2270.

This blog post has been updated.