TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. The term is used to describe a variety of issues that affect a person’s jaw. If this disorder is not treated, it can lead to serious conditions later in life.
Signs You May Have TMJ
There are several signs that point to TMJ. If you’re wondering if you have this condition, ask the following questions:
- Do you have sensitive teeth?
- Are your teeth meeting differently when you bite together?
- Are your teeth loose?
- Do you grind or clench your teeth?
- Is your jaw sore or stiff when you wake up in the morning?
- Are your teeth worn or broken?
- Do you have headaches or neck aches frequently?
- Have you ever suffered a head, neck, or jaw injury?
- Do you have any other joint problems?
- Does it hurt or is it hard to open your mouth?
- Does your jaw make noises or lock when you open your mouth?
- Is your jaw more painful or prone to clenching when you’re stressed?
- Do you have teeth that don’t touch anymore when you bite?
If you have more than one of these symptoms, contact an oral surgeon to discuss treatment options.
There are a variety of treatments an oral surgeon may recommend to treat TMJ. First, you should be evaluated by an oral surgeon to determine the proper course of treatment.
There are some medications your oral surgeon may recommend you start taking to help. These include anti-inflammatories, and nighttime medications that help decrease clenching activities. In some cases, steroids may be injected into the affected jaw joint to provide pain relief and reduce inflammation.
Most TMJ cases will require some at-home treatments, as well. These may include jaw exercises, resting your jaw, switching to a soft food diet, holding ice and heat on the jaw, using good posture, ensuring your teeth are separated when you aren’t eating, and stress management practices. Some cases may require an appliance to help correct the TMJ, such as a night guard, positioning appliance, or stabilization appliance.
Oral Surgery for TMJ
Sometimes, TMJ will affect how your teeth fit together. This may need to be corrected through oral surgery. There are many surgical options, and an oral surgeon can tell you if you’ll need any surgery to correct damage caused by TMJ.
If you’re concerned that you may have TMJ or any other jaw or joint problems, schedule a consultation with the OMSNashville team.