The temporomandibular joint is the sliding hinge that connects the jawbone to your skull. One joint is located on each side of your jaw and moves when you eat, drink or speak. The joint is often subject to problems, known as a TMJ disorder or TMD. The issue can cause pain in the joint as well as the muscles that move the jaw. Here at Edison C. Louie DDS, Inc., we can provide treatment for TMJ/TMD issues, helping to lessen pain and overall discomfort from the joint problem.
When it comes to TMJ and TMD issues, most patients are not aware that the condition can be connected to dentistry. In many cases, the issue with the jaw joint is due to teeth grinding and clenching of the jaw at night. When you grind your teeth constantly during the nighttime hours, you may have no idea what you are doing it. Usually, a patient is unaware until their partner alerts them of the nighttime activity.
When grinding or clenching of the jaw muscle occurs frequently, it can cause pain as well as discomfort within the jaw joint. The patient may wake up with headaches frequently or pain in or around the ear. A dentist will be able to determine if teeth grinding is the issue and then suggest treatment, such as a night guard.
Common Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
There are several symptoms that can be present when a patient has a TMJ disorder. Pain or a tender feeling will occur in the jaw. The temporomandibular joints may have pain on both sides or in just one area. Pain can occur in the ear or around the ear as this area is located near the jaw joint.
Patients can begin to have difficulty chewing food or pain when chewing. Facial pain may be present, with an achy feeling. In some cases, the jaw joint can lock up, making it difficult to open or close the mouth. If you experience these symptoms, it is important to be evaluated by our team to ensure proper treatment is provided.
As with other medical conditions, there are risk factors associated with TMJ disorders. Patients can develop arthritis including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. An injury to the jaw can occur, or the patient can experience long-term grinding of the teeth or clenching motions. This can result in tooth loss over time as the teeth are ground away, causing cracking or other issues.
Overall, if you are experiencing symptoms associated with the jaw joint, having your teeth reviewed by a dentist is imperative. By having your symptoms reviewed by a professional, you can be diagnosed and treated. In many cases, grinding teeth and clenching of the jaw joint are creating the pain and uncomfortable feeling. With a night guard, the patient can avoid the teeth movement and enjoy a better night’s rest, plus dissolve any pain felt in the jaw joint due to the night time activity.
For more information about TMJ and TMD disorders, call the experienced professionals here at Edison C. Louie DDS, Inc. at (714) 922-3132 today!