The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is like a hinge that connects your jawbone to your skull, allowing you to do basic tasks like talking and chewing. But for people with temporomandibular joint disorders (also known as TMD, or called TMJ after the joint itself), these daily activities become fraught with pain.
People with TMJ disorders might feel frequent pain in the jaw joint, experience clicking in the jaw, ear pain, popping ears, headaches and migraines, sore jaw muscles, or a locked jaw. Sometimes a TMJ disorder manifests itself as difficulty chewing, or simply a bite that feels unnatural, like the upper and lower teeth don’t quite fit together. Sometimes a specific injury to your jaw, head, or neck can lead to TMJ disorders. Other times, the cause is simply unknown. Factors known to cause TMJ disorders include:
- Grinding or clenching teeth (also known as bruxism), which often occurs unconsciously while a person is sleeping but can also happen during the day. This grinding puts unnecessary pressure on the jaw.
- Arthritis in the temporomandibular joint
- Frequent tightening of facial and jaw muscles due to stress
- A displaced disc between the ball and socket of the joint
If you’re experiencing TMJ symptoms, there’s no need to continue living with pain and discomfort. Dr. Jana Gyurina at Oak Park Dental is uniquely trained and has years of experiencing treating TMJ disorders. At Oak Park Dental, we begin TMJ examinations by taking advanced K-7 scans, which create 3-D images of your head and allow us to see how your jaw is working. Once we’ve determined if and how your joint is damaged, we can create a custom treatment plan, which might include any of the following methods:
- An orthotic appliance which can be worn in the mouth during the day, night, or both, helping to relax the jaw and adjust the bite position over time
- Transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation (TENS) therapy, a pain-free system which gives the jaw muscles small electrical impulses that stimulate blood flow and relaxation in the jaw
- Full-mouth rehabilitation
If you have questions about TMJ disorders or need relief from jaw pain, we are happy to talk with you. Contact us today and visit the Madison dentist you can trust to offer the TMJ treatment you deserve.