Jaw pain can make can speaking, eating, drinking, and even yawning painful. Temporomandibular joint disorders, also called TMJ disorders, are a group of conditions that cause pain and discomfort in your jaw joint and muscles, and affect over 10 million Americans. If you think you have TMJ, Lynn M. Andreacola, DMD, can provide a diagnosis and treatment plan to relieve your pain. Call Andreacola Family Dentistry in Marlton, New Jersey, or click the online booking tool.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your lower jaw, also called the mandible, to the bone on the side of your head. This joint is flexible, allowing you to move your jaw up and down and side to side. When this joint and the surrounding muscles are damaged and don’t work properly, you can experience pain and stiffness whenever you move your jaw or open your mouth.
Disorders related to this joint and surrounding muscles are called TMD (temporomandibular disorders), but most people commonly refer to TMD as TMJ. Other signs and symptoms of TMJ include:
There are several factors that can contribute to TMJ disorders, but often there is no obvious cause. Some of these factors include:
If you have jaw pain or you suspect you have TMJ, Dr. Andreacola closely examines your jaw to identify the location of your pain, observes your jaw’s general range of motion, and listens for popping or clicking noises. She may take X-rays or order a CT scan or MRI to look more closely at your bones and joints.
For chronic or severe TMJ disorder pain and discomfort, Dr. Andreacola and her team offer a wide range of treatment options and creates a customized treatment plan to relieve your specific disorder.
Treatment options include:
Eating softer foods, avoiding gum and chewy or sticky foods, and cutting your food into smaller pieces are all simple things you can do to start treating your TMJ.
Massages, as well as stretching and other jaw exercises, are usually part of a treatment plan. Additionally, applying hot or cold packs can help.
Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, are a good place to start. If needed, Dr. Andreacola can prescribe prescription-strength medication to reduce pain and inflammation, and she may prescribe a muscle relaxer, if necessary.
Other therapies include a mouthguard or bite plate to prevent you from clenching or grinding your teeth. In some cases, if your TMJ is due to misaligned teeth, Dr. Andreacola may recommend orthodontic treatment or reshaping your teeth to fix your bite.
If TMJ pain is disrupting your life, call or make an appointment online.