Seeking Treatment for TMJ Disorder
The joint that connects your jawbone to your skull is known as the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. The TMJ is one of the most complicated joints in the body considering that it is capable of a variety of movements. Your TMJ, together with your facial muscles and ligaments, allows you to chew and swallow your food, as well as speak and yawn. Unfortunately, there are times when its surrounding muscles, tissues, or bone have a problem that deters the TMJ from doing its job. When this happens, you need to see us at Westlake Oral and Plastic Surgery immediately as you may be suffering from temporomandibular disorder (TMD) or TMJ disorder.
Signs of a TMJ Disorder
The most obvious sign of a TMJ disorder is pain and tenderness. This can be felt in the face, in the area around your ear, the muscles of the jaw, in the temples, and even the neck. You can also suffer from headaches that feel like a migraine, as well as earaches. You may also have trouble and pain when you open or close your mouth. When you chew, yawn, or open your mouth, you may also hear a clicking, crunching, or popping sound.
Causes of TMJ Disorder
There are several factors that may contribute to a TMJ disorder. One of which is bruxism, or what is commonly called tooth grinding or clenching, because it adds pressure to the joint and surrounding muscles. Stress can also cause some to struggle with a TMJ disorder. Some of the patients we treat for TMJ disorders came to us because of ill-fitting dentures and certain problematic habits, like nail biting or pencil biting.
Considering that there are several disorders that can overlap with TMJ dysfunctions, you should never carry out self-diagnosis. Once you experience any of the symptoms given above, visit our clinic as soon as possible. The moment you begin your appointment, we would start by carrying out a comprehensive assessment of your condition. It would help us a lot if you could take note of your symptoms in detail and the approximate date you start experiencing them. Depending on the situation, we may also carry out x-rays to better help with our diagnosis.
The treatment we will suggest will largely depend on the cause of your TMJ disorder. If for instance, we discover that you suffer from bruxism, we may recommend an occlusal splint, which is a specially created mouthguard to address your teeth grinding or clenching. Unlike ordinary mouthguards that can be bought over the counter, an occlusal splint is fitted exactly to your teeth and will help your muscles and jaw joints to relax since you will be biting on the splint rather than your other set of teeth.
If you are experiencing pain and discomfort or there are areas on your face that are swollen, we would most likely prescribe pain and anti-inflammatory medications or even administer trigger point injections. In severe cases where all other treatment options have failed, surgery may be needed. TMJ disorders can greatly affect the daily life of a person. Hence, it should be addressed immediately. Contact us here at Westlake Oral and Plastic Surgery by calling (805) 267-9766 for more information on your possible TMJ disorder and to schedule a consultation.
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