TMJ is the shorthand term for the temporomandibular joint. At Westlake Dental Center, we make it a point to monitor the health of these joints because it can lead to a painful and annoying disorder. And if you have a TMJ disorder, we can offer you the most suitable TMJ treatment depending on its causes as well as your symptoms.
What Are the Temporomandibular Joints?
These are the joints and jaw muscles on each side of your head, and they’re a very complex system composed of various muscles, discs, bones, and ligaments that allow you to open and close your mouth properly. The various parts of this system allow you to talk, chew your food, and swallow.
The tern “TMJ” is also often the shorthand term for any disorder for these joints. Any TMJ disorder can be very painful, and what’s more it can interfere with how you move your jaw. So not only will you have difficulty speaking, but the problem can be serious if you can no longer chew and swallow your food.
Usually, signs of TMJ problem include pain in the jaw joint that’s located just in front of your ear. Other types of pain associated with TMJ are the pain in the jaw. The pain can also manifest in the face, chin, cheek, at the base of the tongue, in the temple area, or even in the shoulders.
In some cases, your jaw or neck muscles may be stiff or sore. You may dislocate or lock your jaw. You might feel some tingling or numbness in some parts of your face. There may be a lump or swelling in your temple area or you may hear some popping, ringing, or crackling sounds in your ears. You may also experience headaches, dizziness, vertigo, or blurred vision.
There really is no single test to determine if you have TMJ, and that’s what makes it so difficult to diagnose. All these symptoms may be caused by other ailments.
So what we do here at Westlake Dental Center is to take a comprehensive view of all the data from our patients as well as from our initial assessment so we can determine if you have a TMJ problem. We take a full medical history and perform tests to confirm a diagnosis for TMJ.
We also look for possible causes of TMJ, which include teeth grinding, misalignment of the teeth and jaw, excessive gum chewing, bad posture, extreme anxiety or stress, and inflammatory musculoskeletal disorders like arthritis.
There is no single treatment for TMJ disorders. We will start with simple treatments first before we begin implementing more complicated solutions. Often, we will tell our patients to stop chewing gum and biting their nails, and recommend softer foods to eat. We also encourage the practice meditation and other relaxation techniques so to control tension in the jaw. We may also suggest the use of heat packs to alleviate the pain.
Additional treatment options include muscle exercises for your jaw, a night guard so you don’t grind your teeth while you sleep, and medications such as muscle relaxants or anti-anxiety drugs.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, it’s best to give us a call right away. Visit us at Westlake Dental Center to get the contact information for our dental clinics in Ingleside, Waukegan, Lake County, and other IL cities. Call our Westlake Dental Care office at: (847)268-4299.