TMJ: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

Your jaw is connected to the TMJ or temporomandibular joint in your face, which helps to move your jaw for speaking, eating and more but this joint, like others, can experience injury. Here, our Halifax dentists explain three main types of TMJ disorders (TMD), the symptoms and possible treatment options.

What is TMJ Disorder and what does it affect?

The TMJ is the joint or hinge which connects the temporal bones of your skull (located just below your temple, in front of your ear) to your jaw. This hinge is used for everything that you do with your mouth.

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) happen when there is an issue with your jaw and facial muscles. While this condition only begins with mild pain and discomfort, it can eventually cause you to be unable to move your jaw.

What are the different types of TMJ disorders?

If you experience TMJ disorders, it will be one of three different types:

Joint Degenerative Disorders

If you experience this type of TMJ, you will likely hear it referred to as osteoarthritis. This degenerative joint disorder happens when cartilage holding the round ends of the two bones in your jaw together breaks or wears away.

Cartilage absorbs shocks during movement and allows your bones to glide easily over each other. When the cartilage erodes, pain and swelling will occur, and you may not be able to move your jaw.

Muscle Disorders / Myofascial Pain

Also referred to as myofascial pain, muscle disorders involve pain and discomfort in all the muscles controlling the function of your jaw. You may also experience pain in other areas including your neck, shoulders and back.

Joint Derangement Disorders

A soft, small disc located between the temporal bone and the condyle makes the opening and closing of the jaw smooth and easy. One of the important aspects of this disc is that it keeps you comfortable and pain-free by absorbing the shock of moving your jaw.

When an individual has a joint derangement disorder, the inner workings of the jaw are disrupted or unbalanced due to a dislocated disc or damaged bone.

This displaced disc causes internal derangement of the temporomandibular joint. Currently, there is no surgical solution to this problem.

What are some possible symptoms of TMJ disorders?

With every type of TMJ Disorder, you’ll likely experience pain in your jaw and face. The area around your ears may hurt, and you’ll feel an ache when you open your mouth to eat or talk.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Facial bruising or swelling
  • Problems opening, closing or clenching your jaw
  • Headaches, dizziness or pain in your temples
  • Grinding, clicking or popping sounds when you open your jaw
  • Additional pain in your neck and/or shoulders

When should you visit a dentist for diagnosis and treatment?

If at-home remedies such as avoiding stress, chewing gum, gently massaging your neck and jaw muscles, or trying over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) have not proven effective, you should make a dental appointment.

Your dentist will review your dental history, perform a thorough examination of your bite and jaw, and take x-rays to assess before providing an official diagnosis of TMJ Disorder. The treatment he or she recommends may include:

  • TMJ therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Oral Surgery
  • Dental splints
  • Prescription medications

Your dentist can help you manage your TMJ Disorder with a combination of home remedies and attentive dental care.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of TMJ disorder, our dentists may be able to help. Request an appointment with our Halifax dentists today.

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Location

Scotia Dental
5251 Duke St #602 Halifax NS B3J 3S1 CA

Phone Number

(902) 444-8550

Hours of Operation

  • Monday:08:00 am - 05:00 pm
  • Tuesday:08:00 am - 05:00 pm
  • Wednesday:08:00 am - 05:00 pm
  • Thursday:08:00 am - 05:00 pm
  • Friday:08:00 am - 04:00 pm
  • Saturday:Closed
  • Sunday:Closed

(902) 444-8550