The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is responsible for allowing your mouth to open, close, and move from side to side. You can feel the TMJ by placing two fingers in front of the ears while opening and closing the mouth. TMJ disorder occurs when pain is experienced in this joint and the surrounding muscles.
TMJ Disorder Symptoms
TMJ disorder can present itself in several ways. You may have a TMJ disorder if you experience any of the symptoms listed below. You may experience all, some, or just one of the following:
Pain in the facial muscles
Pain in the ears or jaw joints
Grating, popping, or clicking sounds as mouth opens and closes
Difficulty chewing foods
Increased headaches or dizziness
Pain or ringing of ear, or hearing loss
Trouble opening mouth all the way
An oral surgeon can diagnose TMJ disorders and determine the best way to treat the problem. While the cause of TMJ disorders is not always known, it may stem from other conditions, including
Excessive grinding or clenching of teeth
Injury to jaw or surrounding area
Displaced or perforated disk in the joint
The first goals of TMJ treatment are to alleviate the pain by relieving the muscle spasm. A pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, or muscle relaxant may be prescribed. Steroids that are applied to the affected area may also be an option. In many cases of TMJ disorder, continuous self-care treatments have proven to be highly effective as part of an overall treatment plan. Some of these at-home treatments include
Applying ice and heat
Eating foods that are soft and easy to chew
Resting your jaw
Exercising your jaw
Keeping teeth apart when not swallowing or eating
The maximum effects of a treatment plan for a TMJ disorder will be experienced over time. Our oral surgeons will work with you to ensure your jaw and surrounding muscles are as comfortable as possible. If you are experiencing any signs of a TMJ disorder, we encourage you to call our offices in Wenatchee and Moses Lake, WA, to meet with one of our oral surgeons for a consultation.
To request a consultation and learn more about our services, please request an appointment now. We look forward to helping you improve your oral health and smile!