The TMJ, or temporomandibular joints, hinge your jawbone to the rest of your skull. These TMJ joints work together with a series of ligaments and muscles to help you open your mouth, chew food and speak. Each sophisticated ball and socket joint also have a small disk of cartilage to allow for the slip needed to effectively grind food.
The TMJ disorder is a blanket term used to identify a problem in the temporomandibular joints.
Initial symptoms of the TMJ disorder often include a persistent, dull headache in front of your ears or near your temples. Another symptom could be clicking or popping when opening and closing your mouth.
Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, can put incredible amounts of tension on your jaw muscles and ligaments. This can then cause inflammation in the joints, which can significantly increase your chances of developing the TMJ disorder. Other potential sources of the TMJ disorder could also include a past dislocation in one or both joints, arthritis or general inflammation issues.
Here at TMJ Therapy, we often employ a two-step treatment strategy to dealing with TMJ disorder.
The first step of treatment involves lifestyle modification. This often includes eating softer foods, taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication and using heat packs to relax muscle tension.
If your TMJ disorder is directly attributed to teeth grinding, our TMJ Therapy team might prescribe you a night guard. The night guard conforms comfortably to your mouth and protects your smile when you grind your teeth, which will help prevent tooth wear and tear.
If lifestyle modification and a night guard still don’t provide relief to your symptoms, we might recommend more advanced treatment techniques. This often includes anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxers or rehabilitation exercises. Should the problem persist, surgical intervention might be required.
If you have questions or concerns about the TMJ disorder in American Fork, Utah, you should call TMJ Therapy at 801-756-0900 to schedule an appointment with your dentist, Dr. Carl McMillan.