Many Canadians suffer from pain caused by temporomandibular disorder (TMJ) including pain in the jaw, headaches or earaches. Typically TMJ affects about twice as many women as it does men.
What is TMJ?
TMJ refers to a number of disorders associated with the TM joints or the joints located at each side of the head at the jaw. These joints make it possible to speak and chew, but when there is a problem with these joints or the muscles and ligaments around them, it can lead to a host of issues.
Symptoms associated with TMJ include:
- Pain around the ear
- Head or neck aches
- A sore or tender jaw
- Pain around the jaw when chewing or yawning – especially pain that is more prevalent in the afternoon
- Clicking or popping sounds when opening or closing the mouth
- Teeth sensitivity that is unrelated to other dental issues
What causes TMJ?
The three main causes are TMJ are:
- A misalignment of the jaw or bite
- An injury or dislocation of the jaw
How do I know if I have TMJ?
Just because you have the symptoms mentioned above, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have TMJ since many of these symptoms may also be associated with other dental conditions or even sinus problems. Getting a proper diagnosis from your dentist therefore is key before any TMJ treatment can be recommended.
Oftentimes, you dentist will be able to determine whether or not you have TMJ through a simple examination of your face and jaw although for some cases, it may also be necessary to get a dental x-ray so your dentist can get a better view of how your jaw fits together.
What kind of TMJ Treatment Should I Expect?
If your TMJ is mild, you may not need any treatment at all since symptoms often disappear on their own. Other treatment options include medications such as pain relievers and muscle relaxants as well as therapies such physical therapy or a mouth guard to prevent you from grinding your teeth.
In severe cases, your dentist may recommend surgery but this is rare and is usually recommended only if other methods of TMJ treatment prove ineffective.
If you think you might have TMJ, your first course of action should be to contact Sapphire Dental today to arrange an appointment with one of our dentists.