TMJ Disorders: What Are They And What Do They Mean For My Jaw?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is what connects your jawbone to the rest of your skull and serves as a sliding hinge for your mouth to open and close. You have one TMJ on either side of your jaw.

Unfortunately, some people suffer from TMJ disorders. These disorders can cause pain in the jaw and facial muscles and it can be difficult to control the movement of your jaw. But what causes TMJ disorders and what types of treatment are available?

What causes TMJ disorders?

Not every TMJ disorder has the same cause. Some disorders are caused by arthritis while others are genetic. You might also suffer from a TMJ disorder if you’ve experienced a jaw injury.

TMJ disorders can also be caused by clenching or grinding the teeth. However, this isn’t always the case and many people who clench their jaws don’t suffer from TMJ disorders.

How is a TMJ disorder diagnosed?

It’s important to seek medical attention if you experience persistent tenderness or pain in your jaw or if you have a difficult time opening or closing your mouth completely.

Your doctor or dentist will physically examine your mouth and jaw. If your dentist suspects an issue, you might receive dental x-rays to examine the area, a CT scan to get detailed images of the bones surrounding the TMJ, and/or an MRI to determine any issues with the TMJ disk or surrounding tissue.

In some cases, a TMJ arthroscopy may be necessary to diagnose a TMJ disorder. During this procedure, your doctor or oral surgeon inserts a very small tube into the joint space and a small camera is used to view the area.

What kind of TMJ treatments are there?

Some TMJ disorders are able to go away on their own without treatment. But you may need pain medication or muscle relaxants depending on the severity of your disorder.

Certain therapies and oral surgeries may also be recommended if your TMJ disorder is severe or impacts your everyday activities.

Looking for a professional oral surgeon for TMJ treatment?

If you have a TMJ disorder, you’re not alone. In fact, approximately 35 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with a type of TMJ disorder.

The good news is, you can receive TMJ treatments at East Mississippi Oral and Facial Surgery to reduce your pain and to help you open and close your jaw completely. For more information about TMJ or to learn about our other services including wisdom teeth removal and dental implants, contact East Mississippi Oral and Facial Surgery today.