Jaw issues like temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder can quickly affect your quality of life by making eating, speaking, chewing, and swallowing more difficult. But what is TMJ disorder? How can doctors treat this issue? Understanding this condition is key to finding the answers to these questions and, in turn, the best treatments for you. Find out more with Dr. Frank Skiba in Walnut Creek, CA.
What is TMJ disorder?
You have two temporomandibular joints which lie on either side of your jaw. These joints act as a hinge which controls the jaw’s opening and closing, back and forth, and side to side movements. When these joints become irritated or inflamed, TMJ disorder occurs. While the cause of TMJ disorder is often unknown, factors like stress, bruxism (teeth grinding), and jaw clenching are often linked to the disorder. Most cases of TMJ disorder are temporary, though some can become chronic.
Do I have TMJ disorder?
While jaw pain and discomfort is one of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorder, other less obvious symptoms can also point to the condition, including:
- popping or clicking sound when opening or closing the mouth
- facial pain
- difficulty chewing
- aching pain around the ear
- pain in one or both temporomandibular joints
- locking of the jaw in the open position
Most cases of TMJ disorder respond to home treatments. However, many cases require the help of your dentist.
TMJ Disorder Treatments in Walnut Creek, CA
If your TMJ disorder symptoms become persistent, begin affecting your daily life, or cause your mouth to lock in the open position, it may be time to speak with your dentist about treatments. Your dentist may suggest prescription or over-the-counter oral medications to help with pain and inflammation. Muscle relaxants can also help the joint function properly. Oral splints and physical therapy exercises and stretches may also benefit TMJ disorder sufferers. In cases of stress causing the condition, counseling or therapy to help lower the instances of stressful situations in your life can decrease jaw clenching and potentially cure the problem. In severe cases, your dentist may recommend injection therapy or open joint surgery.
For more information on TMJ disorder, please contact Dr. Frank Skiba in Walnut Creek, CA. Call 925-934-8149 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Skiba today!