The temporomandibular joints that hinge your jaw, are sophisticated ball and socket joints that work in concert with a series of muscles and ligaments. They allow you to open your mouth, chew your food, speak and are even called into play to make certain facial expressions.
Each ball and socket joint is cushioned by a small cartilage disk. This allows a small amount of slip in the joint so you can chew and grind food. If you grind your teeth at night, the tension caused by ligaments and jaw muscles can put a great deal of pressure on these disks. This can lead issues like arthritis, abnormal muscle tension and pain.
TMJ disorder is the term used to indicate one of many potential problems in these joints. Early symptoms include pain when opening your mouth, or biting down hard. It can also be accompanied by soreness in the jaw early in the morning and a persistent dull ache near the ears or temple.
During your regular dental checkup, the dentist examines your mouth for potential signs of TMJ disorder. If you have experienced any symptoms, be sure to let them know so they can take a closer look.
If the dentist suspects, you are developing TMJ disorder they will often refer you to a physician or other specialist to confirmation diagnosis. Treatment usually involves a two-step approach that starts with lifestyle modification. If this doesn’t improve the problem in short order, treatment might advance to include medications, and rehabilitation exercises. This often includes wearing a custom night guards while you sleep.
If you have questions or concerns about TMJ disorder, please call us at [phone] to schedule an appointment. Early diagnosis improves your chances for successful treatment.