What is TMJ Disorder?

A TMJ disorder is recognized completely as a temporomandibular joint disorder. It is a joint disorder that places the teeth and also bones in the jaw out of placement; it affects movement in the joint as well as triggers noticeable discomfort.

The temporomandibular joint (also known as TMJ) is essentially a sliding hinge that connects the jaw to the skull and is what allows you to talk, chew, etc. TMJ disorder causes pain and discomfort in the joint and the muscles that control jaw movement.

Causes TMJ Disorder

It can be hard to pinpoint the exact cause of TMJ, but here are some potential causes:

  • Injury to the jaw or the muscles in your jaw such as whiplash 
  • The tightening of the jaw due to stress or anxiety
  • Pressure on the jaw due to grinding or clenching teeth
  • Joint inflammation 

Here are some of the signs and symptoms of TMJ: 

  • Pain or discomfort in the face or jaw area when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide
  • Frequent toothaches and/or earaches
  • Jaw clicking, popping, or grating sounds during chewing or opening your mouth
  • Discomforts in the mouth which self-identifies when there is chewable food in your mouth such as tacos or bacon.
  • A jaw that gets stuck or locked when opening or shutting your mouth.

How TMJ Disorder is Diagnosed

There are numerous other conditions that can cause symptoms similar to that of TMJ, like tooth decay, arthritis, or gum disease. 

To diagnose your symptoms, your dentist will check your jaw joints for pain or tenderness and will make sure your jaw doesn’t lock or click when opening and closing your mouth. They may also take X-rays, as well as perform other tests like MRIs or CT scans. 

How to Treat TMJ Disorder

To treat TMJ, you first need to understand the severity of the disorder. If the disorder is serious, a maxillofacial specialist will carry out any one of these surgeries – arthroscopy, open joint surgical treatment, or arthrocentesis. 

However, if the disorder is light, a chiropractor can help you relieve pain and symptoms through things like:

  • Adjustments to help resolve pain in the jaw, as well as in the neck and head
  • Physical therapy
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation (10S)
  • Massage therapy to realign the joints in the face
  • Using heat or cold packs and jaw stretches

Interested in exploring your treatment options for TMJ Disorder? Get in contact with Imperium Health Center today.