A Two-Step Treatment Strategy for TMJ Disorder

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TMJ disorder refers to a problem with the temporomandibular joints that hinge your jaw. These sophisticated ball and socket joints work in concert with ligaments and muscles in your mouth, allowing you to open your mouth, chew food, and speak.

Early symptoms of TMJ disorder include a chronic dull ache near your temples or in front of your ears. This is usually accompanied by pain when opening and closing your mouth, biting down hard or chewing.

One of the more common causes of TMJ disorder, is grinding your teeth at night on a regular basis. However, it could also be related to a past dislocation or one or both joints, arthritis or other issues associated with inflammation in the joints.

The most common treatment strategy calls for using two-step approach.

The first step focuses on simple lifestyle modifications. This includes eating softer foods, taking over the counter anti-inflammatory medication and using heat packs to relax muscle tension. Over the course of a few weeks you might see symptoms start to subside.

If you don’t show improvement your physician will probably employ a more advanced treatment strategy. This usually involves the use of prescription anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxers or rehabilitation exercises. If chronic night grinding is the underlying cause, they might also recommend wearing a custom night guard when you sleep.

If you have questions or concerns about TMJ disorder, please call us at 801-756-0900 to schedule an appointment. Early diagnosis improves your chances for successful treatment.