What is TMD or TMJ disorder?

The term TMJ refers to a variety of conditions that affect the TMJ, the hinge that connects the jaw and the muscles one uses to chew. While usually temporary and recurring, these conditions can be painful. Our dentists at South High Dental have treatments available that may give you relief from TMJ symptoms.

TMD is not just one condition, but a group of painful disorders that affect the TMJs and the muscles one uses to chew. It affects more women than men, and is usually temporary or occasional, but a small percentage of sufferers have serious chronic problems.

Jaw/TMJ Problems

What does TMJ stand for?

TMJ literally refers to the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), which are the hinges that connect your lower jaw to your skull. The numerous disorders associated with the TMJ muscles are often referred to “TMJ” or as “TMD” (TMJ Disorders). TMD is not just one condition, but a group of painful disorders that affect the TMJ and the muscles one uses to chew.

Do I have a TMJ Disorder?

The following are symptoms of TMJ Disorders. Not everyone experiences all of these problems. If you experience some of them, speak to our dentists at South High Dental and have them perform a thorough examination.

  • Jaw pain, stiffness or soreness
  • Jaw pain while chewing, biting or yawning
  • Painful or tender jaw joint
  • Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
  • Restricted range of jaw movement or “locking” of the jaw in an open or closed position
  • Painful clicking, popping, grinding or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth
  • Pain and fatigue when eating hard or chewy foods
  • Frequent unexplained headaches – sometimes diagnosed as migraines
  • Bruxism – grinding or clenching of teeth when awake or asleep
  • Earaches without an ear infection
  • Sensitive teeth and toothaches without evidence of dental problems
  • Teeth that break or crack without an apparent cause
  • Aching or radiating pain on the side of the head, face, neck and shoulders
  • A burning sensation in the mouth/tongue

What causes TMJ Disorders?

TMJ is not completely understood by the medical community, so research on causes and treatments continues. Some contributing factors may include:

  • Trauma – a sharp blow to the face, head, neck or jaw
  • Disease – osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or gout
  • Stress
  • Age and Gender – it most often affects women of child-bearing age
  • Bad oral habits – some believe TMJ can be caused or aggravated by activities that put the jaw in stressful positions, including tongue thrusting, mouth breathing, wide yawning, and nail, lip or cheek biting
  • Habits and posture – cradling a telephone between your ear and shoulder, talking excessively, straining the shoulder with a heavy shoulder bag and hunching forward to read
  • Medical procedures – oral procedures that unnaturally hold the jaw open or those requiring intubations
  • Bruxism – teeth clenching or grinding

How can TMJ be treated?

Make sure to first discuss all your symptoms with one of our dentists and get a thorough examination. They will want to rule out other dental possibilities for your symptoms.

There are a number of treatments available, ranging from simple and gentle to the more aggressive and permanent. It is best to make simple adjustments first, like eating soft foods, and not chewing gum, and consider more complex or permanent solutions only if necessary. Discuss available options with us.

Simple techniques you can try on your own:

  • Massaging the muscles of the face, neck and shoulders
  • Practicing relaxation techniques designed to reduce stress
  • Moist heat or cold packs
  • Maintaining a good diet and drinking plenty of water
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Avoiding stressful jaw movements like big yawns
  • Avoiding hard foods and gum
  • Trying to keep the jaw relaxed
  • Moist heat or cold packs
  • Exercise
  • Over-the-counter pain medications

Medical solutions to discuss with us:

  • Prescription anti-inflammatory medications or muscle relaxants
  • Mouth guards or splints – mouthpieces and special appliances designed to fit or adjust your bite
  • Reconstructive surgery
  • Jaw joint or disc replacement

Why choose South High Dental in Columbus, OH for your dental services needs?

With years of experience creating healthy smiles with dental treatments such as those for TMD or TMJ disorder, our team at South High Dental uses the latest in dentistry so you can get the smile you want and need. Call us at 610-922-8952 or contact us to make an appointment for a dental treatment visit today. At South High Dental in Columbus, OH we are happy to provide our dental services to our neighboring communities including Obetz, Grove City, Groveport, South-South High St., Ashville, Circleville, and surrounding areas in Ohio. We offer flexible hours and most insurances covers our treatments such as:

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