Do you have TMJ dysfunction? Are you wondering what TMJ is? TMJ stands for temporomanibular joints. You have a temporomanibular joint on either side of your face. By putting your fingers on each side of your face in front of your ears and opening your mouth you can feel them. They are sliding joints that make it possible for you to chew, talk, drink, bite and yawn. Temporomandibular joint disorders can cause pain in your jaw joint and surrounding muscles, and jaw dysfunction. An estimated 10 million Americans suffer TMJ dysfunction, and it tends to be more common in women.
TMJ disorders can cause a variety of symptoms, mostly from the neck up. However, you may even feel some tingling in your extremities. Some symptoms include:
- Pain in the jaw joint and surrounding facial muscles
- Pain that radiates to or from the jaw, face, or neck
- Frequent headaches or migraines, often upon waking in the morning
- Popping, clicking, or locking jaw
- Stiff or sore jaw and jaw muscles
- Limited jaw movement
- Difficulty chewing
- Ringing in the ears
- A change in bite
Causes and Treatment
TMJ disorders can be caused by bruxing (grinding and clenching your teeth), abnormal bite, arthritis, and accident or trauma. Treatment can include a custom soft or hard occlusal splint to reposition the jaw allowing the jaw joints to relax, and to reduce the forces of bruxing. When your jaw is in the ideal position it relieves undue pressure on the joint and surrounding muscles alleviating joint pain, pain in the facial muscles, head, and neck. Other more conservative treatments can include hot and cold therapies, jaw stretches, and relaxation techniques. Bruxing can also cause worn, chipped, or broken teeth which may require restorative treatment.
About Dr. Jeffrey Allen
Dr. Jeffrey Allen provides comfortable dental care to patients of all ages. Call (641) 628-1121 today to schedule a checkup and cleaning, cosmetic consultation, or second-opinion visit. We are located on the west side of the historic town square in Pella, IA. Please see the map for directions.