TMJ

Brite Smiles Dental Care

General Dentistry & Cosmetic Dentistry located in Apple Valley, MN

If you’re suffering from pain in your jaw or a clicking sensation when you open and close your mouth, you might have TMJ disorder, a painful jaw condition that can affect your ability to properly eat, speak, and chew. At Brite Smiles Dental Care in Apple Valley, Minnesota, Dennis Simmons, DDS, and Lisa Edstrom, DDS, can effectively diagnose and treat your TMJ disorder to get your jaw back in proper shape and alleviate your pain. Find relief today by calling the office or scheduling an appointment online.

TMJ Q & A

What is TMJ?

TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint. Your TMJ is a sliding, hinge-like joint that connects your lower jaw, or mandible, to your skull at the temporal bones. Your TMJ is a delicate and complex system that enables you to speak, talk, and yawn with ease.

TMJ disorder (or TMD) is a condition that affects the proper functioning of your TMJ and makes it difficult and/or painful to move your jaw. It most commonly occurs in patients between the ages of 20 and 40, and it’s seen more often in women than in men.

TMJ and TMD are often used interchangeably, but technically speaking, TMJ is the joint, while TMD is the condition that affects the joint. 

Do I have TMJ disorder?

Some of the more common symptoms of TMJ disorder include: 

  • Jaw pain and tenderness
  • Headaches or ear pain
  • Your jaw gets stuck open or shut
  • A clicking, popping, or grating sound when you open or close your mouth
  • An awkward feeling in your bite, as if your teeth don’t properly fit together

The severity of TMD symptoms can vary greatly. Some patients experience only mild irritation, while others may find the pain and discomfort intolerable.

A TMJ disorder can fade in just a few days or linger for many years. If left untreated, it can lead to headaches, muscle pain, and tooth damage. 

How do you treat TMJ disorder?

If the team at Brite Smiles Dental Care diagnoses you with TMJ disorder, they work with you to devise a unique treatment plan based on the severity of your condition.

TMD treatments can provide you with significant relief from headaches and jaw pain and can make chewing more comfortable for you again. 

When treating TMJ disorder, it’s best to start with conservative approaches. Among the noninvasive treatments your dentist might try include: 

  • Special oral appliances
  • Physical therapy
  • Medications to relax the jaw and relieve pain

Your dentist might also suggest you try to ease your symptoms with some recommendations for lifestyle changes, like: 

  • Reducing stressors in your life
  • Sleeping on your back
  • Avoiding sudden jaw movements like yawning or yelling

Conservative treatments go a long way in rehabilitating many patients’ jaws. If your TMJ disorder doesn’t respond to less-invasive treatments, however, your dentist can discuss additional options with you. 

Put your TMJ disorder in the past and schedule an appointment with Brite Smiles Dental Care today. You can book your visit by phone or online.