An orthodontist near you is concerned with and able to support you with a lot more than just the alignment of your teeth. One example of what we mean is the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. TMJ disorder is a cluster of symptoms caused by pressure placed on the TMJ — the joint that attaches your jawbone to your skull on both sides of your head. That joint is made up of a variety of muscles, ligaments, bones, and discs that collectively move your jaw in every direction.
Symptoms of TMJ
While there is a wide variety of symptoms experienced by people experiencing TMJ joint disorder, there is a cluster of common symptoms people may experience, including:
- A painful or tender jaw joint
- Painful neck, shoulders, or face muscles
- Pain in or near your ear
- Ringing in your ear (tinnitus)
- Difficulty chewing, or pain or discomfort as you chew
- Headaches and dizziness
- Problems opening and closing your mouth (lockjaw)
- Hearing or feeling a clicking or popping sensation when opening and closing your jaw
Causes of and risk factors for TMJ
Determining the cause of your TMJ disorder can be difficult because there are so many potential causes and risk factors that vary from person to person. For this reason, it is especially important to tell your orthodontist in NE Calgary about any symptoms affecting your face, jaw, and neck. Even though the symptoms might not relate directly to your teeth, your orthodontist may be able to identify TMJ and recommend solutions to address the pain and symptoms. Causes and risk factors attributing to TMJ include:
- Sleep or awake bruxism (clenching of your jaw and grinding your teeth)
- Arthritis in the joint
- Disc erosion in the joint
- An injury to the jaw
- Emotional of psychological issues such as stress or anxiety that may cause clenching of your face and jaw muscles
- Poor posture
- Connective tissue diseases
If an orthodontist near you identifies TMJ disorder as the cause of your symptoms, they’ll recommend a range of treatment options to ease your symptoms. The options for TMJ treatment near you include medical options and at home or over-the-counter options.
At home and over-the-counter options for treating TMJ disorder
There are several options for seeking relief from the symptoms of TMJ disorder without or before pursuing medical treatment. Those options include: eating soft foods, take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication such as Advil, improving your posture, reducing the use of chewing gum, properly positioning your jaw by keeping your teeth slightly apart whenever possible, applying hot or cold packs to your jaw, practicing relaxation techniques, and receiving massage around your neck and jaw muscles.
You can also obtain relief from the symptoms of TMJ by obtaining TMJ night guards in NE Calgary from a dentist or orthodontist. They’re generally manufactured from acrylic resin and may cover part or all of the upper or lower jaw, or both. While there are several types available depending on your circumstances, they all prevent the grinding and/or clenching of teeth to reduce the pressure imposed on your jaw.
Medical treatment for TMJ disorder
If your symptoms of TMJ persist despite attempting those approaches, an orthodontist near you will recommend that you seek medical attention to determine the best options for medical treatment for TMJ near you. Common medical approaches for TMJ symptoms include: prescription muscle relaxants and pain relievers, oral splints and nightguards that you can obtain from a dentist or orthodontist, physical therapy, and even surgical procedures.
If you’ve been experiencing any symptoms of TMJ, discuss with an orthodontist in NE Calgary how they can help you to obtain relief.