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TMJ: What is it and how is it treated? 

By January 5, 2021No Comments

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. You have one joint on each side of your jaw. TMJ disorders — a type of temporomandibular disorder or TMD — can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement.

What causes a TMJ disorder?

  • There are several variables that can contribute to TMJ disorder, including:
  • Misalignment – a misalignment of bite
  • Bruxism – clenching or grinding teeth
  • Arthritis
  • Dislocated Jaw
  • Uneven pressure – unequal distribution when chewing
  • Injuries – neck and face injuries such as whiplash

How can you tell if you have a TMJ disorder?

Your symptoms might include any of the following:

  • Pain when chewing, talking, swallowing, or yawning
  • Sensitivity in your facial, neck, or shoulder muscles
  • Inflammation or swelling along the jaw
  • Tinnitus
  • Stressed facial muscles
  • Balance issues or lightheadedness
  • A popping or clicking sound when you open and close your mouth
  • Toothaches, earaches, or headaches
  • Jaw locking into position

How are TMJ disorders treated?

There are a couple different options that our dentists, Dr. Eddy Sauer and Dr. Nathaniel Avirett, offer for customized TMJ treatment.

Appliance Therapy: Involves the use of an acrylic splint, that can support the jaw and be worn consistently. Our laboratory assistant is highly qualified and has been fabricating custom splints for our patients for 20 years. It typically takes about three weeks to design and manufacture a splint after your consultation.

Invisalign: Advanced system that requires patients to wear clear aligner trays for 20-22 hours each day, which progressively shift their teeth into the proper position. Patients generally receive a new set of trays every 2 weeks. One third of our Invisalign patients use this method to treat TMJ disorder, because it straightens teeth and subsequently and reduces jaw tension while evenly redistributing jaw pressure.

Relieve Your Pain

If you are experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder, we can provide a custom treatment approach to relieve pain and improve your condition. During your consultation, we can review your unique symptoms and conduct a thorough evaluation of your jaw and smile to determine your individualized treatment plan. Call us at (806) 358-2472 to schedule your appointment today!