TMJ Disorder Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Long Island TMJ DisorderTMJ disorder is a painful condition that can result in extensive damage to your teeth. At our Long Island cosmetic dentistry center, our dentist is skilled in the advanced treatment of TMJ disorders, as well as the underlying tooth, bone, muscle, and nerve problems that may be affecting your ability to chew, talk, and smile.

What is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ is an abbreviation that stands for “temporomandibular joint,” a joint in the jaw. Each person’s jaw has two of these joints, located just in front of the ears, and these joints aid in chewing. TMJ disorder refers to a variety of issues associated with this specific region of the jaw. TMJ difficulties are often a result of stress or pressure on the structures around the TMJ area.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

The most common symptom of TMJ disorder is discomfort. Pain resulting from TMJ problems can range from mild to severe, and can last for years if untreated. Patients with TMJ disorders often report pain in the teeth; in the ear; in the muscles of the face, jaw, and neck; and in the cartilage around the TM joint. Additional symptoms of TMJ disorders include:

  • Pain when opening or closing the mouth
  • Jaws that are unable to open wide due to pain or stiffness
  • Discomfort or difficulty chewing
  • Swelling on the side of the face
  • A grating, popping or clicking noise when opening or closing your mouth
  • Tenderness in the jaw or a jaw-ache
  • Earaches
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Aching pain in the face or neck

Causes of TMJ Disorder

Although there are several known causes of TMJ disorders, not all cases of TMJ disorder have an easily identifiable source. TMJ disorders are most commonly caused by a misaligned bite; stress, which can lead to clamping of the jaw; and teeth-grinding, which also puts extra pressure on the jaw. Occupations that require sitting in front of a computer can cause temporary bad posture as a result of holding the head forward to read the screen, leading to strain in the neck, jaw, and face muscles. Patients who suffer from certain forms of arthritis may also have TMJ disorders. It should be noted that not all sufferers of TMJ disorder grind their teeth, nor are all problems resulting from grinding of the teeth are from difficulties with the temporomandibular joint.

How is TMJ Disorder Treated?

TMJ disorders have varying degrees of pain and should be dealt with accordingly. In some cases, simple, gentle therapy is recommended. Learning to stretch and massage your facial and jaw muscles can help, as well as avoiding actions that cause pain, such as chewing gum, yawning, or singing. When TMJ disorder has resulted in tooth decay or damage to existing dental work from tooth-grinding, we have successfully restored the teeth of our Long Island dental crowns patients. To prevent further damage to the teeth, a mouth guard may recommended and worn at night while sleeping.

Learn More About TMJ Disorder

If you’d like to schedule a consultation and learn more about the treatments offered at Smiles on Broadway, please contact our Long Island dental center.

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