Do you know about your temporomandibular joint (TMJ)? This joint in your body connects your jawbone to the rest of your skull.
TMJ problems and dysfunction are common among adults and teens in the United States. Advanced TMJ dysfunction can result in your jaw locking up and becoming difficult or impossible to move freely, which poses a big issue for easy speech, eating, smiling, and overall comfort and security.
How can you address TMJ issues? Cosmetic and family dentist Dr. Kamran Saidara and the team at Lancaster Dental Care Associates in Lancaster, California, have some ideas! We specialize in the treatment of temporomandibular disorders (TMDs).
If your jaw locks up, get in touch with Dr. Saidara right away. Here’s what you need to know about the causes and treatments for TMDs.
Why your jaw can lock up
You count on your jaw moving smoothly and regularly, up and down and from side to side, every time you use the correct muscles. You don’t consciously direct muscle movement at all. You think about opening your mouth, and your joints and muscles do all the work.
At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. If you have a TMD, the situation can be a little different. That’s when you start to deal with problems like your jaw suddenly locking up or your jaw joints not functioning correctly.
Too much flexibility or overuse of your jaw joint increases your risk of a TMD, as do jaw injuries. If you have arthritis, TMD can result. And tooth grinding, or bruxism, can also create problems for your jaw joints.
No matter the cause of your TMD, intrusive symptoms like lockjaw mean that this condition needs treatment promptly before the situation in your TMJ area gets worse!
Symptoms of TMD
In addition to lockjaw, a TMD can present with symptoms including a grinding feeling when you move your jaw, chronic headaches or facial pain, facial swelling, and challenges with chewing. These issues make daily life activities like speaking and eating more challenging than they should be.
TMJ problems can negatively impact your dental health, making you vulnerable to tooth grinding (bruxism) and uneven dental wear and tear.
To restore your jaw function and comfort, your Lancaster Dental Care Associates provider examines you, confirms your diagnosis, and works with you to put together a treatment plan that will work for you and address your TMJ symptoms effectively.
Treating TMJ issues and TMD
Depending on the severity of your TMJ symptoms, your treatment plan may include:
- Pain management strategies like icing or heat therapy, as well as anti-inflammatory and pain relief medications
- Addressing misalignment in your bite with traditional braces or Invisalign®
- A custom night guard to prevent bruxism
When conservative treatment options like those above don’t bring you sufficient relief, you may need surgery to address TMD.
For diagnosis and treatment of TMJ issues or TMD, contact Dr. Saidara and the team at Lancaster Dental Care Associates online or over the phone today to schedule your initial consultation appointment.