TMJ disorder

Patient with tmj disorder

TMJ disorder is a collective term that could include a large number of different problems. What they all have in common, however, is that they affect your jaw joints’ ability to function properly, which can lead to a host of chronic aches, pains, and jaw muscle issues. Because TMJ disorder can vary from patient to patient, it can sometimes be more difficult to pin down than other issues, like cavities or gum disease. If you have questions about symptoms that might indicate this problem, then we advise visiting your dentist as soon as possible for a comprehensive examination. Joint problems are not always obvious, even though their symptoms can be debilitating in severe cases. TMJ disorders describe damage, inflammation, or other complications with your jaw’s joints, causing difficulty in jaw movement and chronic pain in the jaw, face, and head area. If you suffer from TMJ disorder, then ask your dentist about its possible causes and treatments during your next dental visit.

What does TMJ stand for?

TMJs (temporomandibular joints) are your jaw’s two large joints, located on either side of your face.  These joints allow your lower jaw to move, open, and close so you can bite, chew, and speak comfortably. When one or both of these joints are damaged, inflamed, or out of alignment, then it can affect your jaw’s ability to move smoothly and aggravate your jaw’s nerve, leading to TMJ disorder and discomfort. If there’s an imbalance or if one or both joints are placed under extreme stress, the joints can become damaged, inflamed, or misaligned. Because your TMJs are closely located to your jaw’s trigeminal nerves, the damage can irritate the nerves and lead to a variety of chronic symptoms.

What are TMJ disorder’s symptoms?

Because TMJ disorder directly affects your jaw’s movement, some of the more obvious symptoms involve your bite’s function, such as a popping and clicking sensation in your TMJs. Other symptoms can include chronic headaches and migraines, tinnitus, soreness in your facial muscles, chronic teeth-grinding, and more.

Is everyone susceptible to TMJ disorder?

Everyone has TMJs, and therefore, everyone could potentially experience TMJ problems. Preventing jaw issues isn’t always as simple as preventing tooth decay or gum disease. But with regular dental checkups, your dentist can keep a close eye on your oral health to determine if you may be likely to develop TMJ disorder.

What are the warning signs?

TMJ disorder affects your jaw’s balance, and one of the main warning signs is a popping or clicking sensation when you open and close your jaw. Other symptoms can include:

How can you treat TMJ disorder?

Many people develop problems due to an imbalance in their bite. For instance, crooked teeth can cause your jaw to compensate when you bite, and eventually, this can exhaust or damage the joints. Treating TMJ disorder may involve correcting your bite’s alignment. However, in many cases, it can be addressed with a comfortable, custom-designed oral appliance that helps your jaw rest comfortably so the joints can recuperate.

TMJ disorder can cause severely disruptive pain and discomfort, and treating it is the only way to find lasting relief. To find out if you could benefit from TMJ disorder treatment, call Lake Forest Dental Arts in Lake Forest, IL, today at 847-234-0517.