Temporomandibular joints, more commonly known as TMJ are complex and sophisticated joints that hinge your jaw. They allow you to open your mouth, chew your food, speak and are even involved in certain facial expressions.
Each ball and socket joint has a disk of cartilage that allows it to slip a little bit. This motion allows you to chew and grind food. A great deal of pressure is put on these disks, the joints and surrounding jaw muscles if you grind your teeth at night.
TMJ disorders initial symptom include pain when opening and closing your mouth, or biting down hard. It can also include soreness in the jaw early in the morning and a persistent dull ache near the ears or temple.
There are several potential causes of TMJ disorder such as arthritis in the joints, alignment issues, or chronic inflammation due to a previous jaw dislocation. One of the more common causes is chronic night grinding of your teeth.
During your regular dental checkup, your dentist inspects your mouth for potential signs of TMJ disorder. Be sure to let your dentist know if you have experienced any symptoms or other reasons for concern.
If your dentist suspects that you have a TMJ disorder issue they will usually refer you to a physician or other specialist for confirmation of the diagnosis. Your treatment options will vary depending on the severity of the problem and its initial cause.
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.