TMJ disorder is a broad technical term that indicates there is a problem with the temporomandibular joints that hinge your jaw. These ball and socket joints, work together with ligaments and muscles in your mouth, allowing you to open your mouth, chew food, and speak.
Initial symptoms of TMJ disorder include a chronic dull ache near your temples or in front of your ears. It might also be accompanied by pain when opening and closing your mouth, biting down or chewing on hard foods.
Grinding your teeth at night on a regular basis is one of the more common causes of TMJ disorder. Past dislocation in one or both joints, arthritis or inflammation issues could also be the root cause.
In most cases a physician will adopt a two-step approach to treatment.
Minor cases of TMJ disorder can often be remedied with a few short term lifestyle modifications. This includes eating softer foods, taking over the counter anti-inflammatory medication and using heat packs to relax muscle tension. Over the course of a few weeks you might see symptoms start to subside. A custom fitted night guard might also be called for if grinding your teeth is the suspected cause.
If you continue to struggle with discomfort and inflammation in the joints the physician might recommend a more advanced treatment strategy. This usually involves the use of prescription anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxers or rehabilitation exercises.
If you have questions or concerns about TMJ disorder, please call us at 713-861-8323 to schedule an appointment. Early diagnosis improves your chances for successful treatment.