Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder causes intense jaw pain, fatigue, and headaches that can make simple tasks like eating feel like chores. At Smile Structure Dentistry and Braces, with five offices in San Antonio and Helotes, Texas, the team of general and family dentists target TMJ pain with state-of-the-art oral appliances. Call the nearest office or request an appointment online today to learn more.
TMJ is a painful condition that affects the temporomandibular joints, which connect the lower jawbone and skull. You have one joint on each side of your jaw just below your ear. These joints act as hinges, allowing you to open and close your mouth and move your jaw from side to side.
Many ligaments and tissues support the temporomandibular joints. When these tissues become stretched or overworked, pain and inflammation can develop. TMJ can also damage the cartilage protecting the joints.
There are three main types of TMJ:
People experiencing myofascial pain disorder with TMJ may feel discomfort or pain in the muscles responsible for jaw movement. This condition can lead to tenderness, spasms, or aching sensations in the jaw area.
TMJ internal derangement occurs when there is a dislocated or displaced disc within the temporomandibular joint. This displacement can hinder the smooth movement of the jaw and may result in clicking, popping, or locking sensations during jaw motion.
Degenerative joint disease gradually wears the joint, leading to arthritis. This condition can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in the jaw, often resulting in limited range of motion and difficulty with everyday activities such as chewing and talking.
Many factors can influence your risk of developing TMJ, including:
After a thorough dental exam that includes digital X-rays, the team can determine the cause of your condition and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.
TMJ symptoms can develop at any time, especially when you feel anxious or stressed, and can include:
Your TMJ symptoms may be constant or come and go.
If you have TMJ, Smile Structure Dentistry and Braces may recommend:
Custom-fitted mouthguards, often made of soft or hard plastic, reduce the impact of teeth grinding or clenching, which commonly contributes to TMJ disorders.
TMJ splints are custom-fitted appliances that cover the upper or lower teeth, stabilizing the jaw joint and preventing teeth grinding or clenching.
Braces, Invisalign®, and other orthodontic appliances can help reposition and correct your bite.
Call Smile Structure Dentistry and Braces or request an appointment online today to learn more.