You may take simple things like chewing or speaking for granted, but when you have temporomandibular joint pain, those actions can seem almost impossible. Fortunately, there are treatments to counter this disorder.
At Lancaster Dental Care Associates, our staff can help with all of your dental care needs, including TMJ and TMD. Our team consists of four highly skilled doctors who help you confirm a TMJ diagnosis and get you the treatment needed to ease your pain.
What is the temporomandibular joint?
Your temporomandibular joint is the point where your jawbone connects to your skull. That joint is considered a hinge joint because it allows your lower jaw bone to move by swinging. The TMJ is found at the spot right in front of your ears.
Your TMJ is like many of the other joints in your body that allow you to move. It’s made of bone, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Together, they allow you to move your jaw to achieve tasks like chewing.
Because your joint is made up of multiple structures, it’s prone to injury. An injury or overuse can lead to damage within the jaw joint, causing pain and discomfort with even the simplest movements. Understanding the signs of TMJ and TMD can help you seek treatment, resulting in fewer complications in the future.
Signs of a problem
TMJ and TMD are similar. TMJ is specific to the joint, whereas TMD is a broad term that refers to conditions and symptoms that affect your joint. So how do you know if you have a problem? Pain or discomfort is a common issue related to TMD, but there are other symptoms as well, including:
- Swelling around the joint
- Facial pain
- Grinding feeling around the joint
- Jaw locking
You could also have trouble chewing, eating, or problems talking in some cases. TMD can be mild or severe and can wear down the joint over time.
So what causes these problems in your joint? An injury, such as a broken jaw, is often a cause. Other health conditions, such as arthritis, are risk factors for TMD. Teeth grinding due to stress is yet another cause of this disorder. Getting treatment early is the best way to stop the damage before it progresses.
Don’t put off treatment
TMD can lead to a variety of problems if not treated properly. For example, you may experience lockjaw more frequently — a condition where your jaw is locked either open or closed due to inflammation in your joints. You may also find it more difficult to chew foods like gum or steak. Headaches may become more intense and more frequent without the proper treatment.
The bottom line is not to put off the treatment of your TMD symptoms. Not only does it lead to increased pain, but it can also lead to other conditions such as:
- Chronic neck pain
- Severe jaw pain
- Eating disorders
At Lancaster Dental Care Associates, our team offers a variety of treatments to help you deal with the discomfort of TMD. The type of treatment that our team offers depends on the severity of your condition.
Conservative measures are usually used first to treat TMD. That may include anti-inflammatory medications, diet modification, or a night guard to help with teeth grinding. However, when all other measures fail, our team might recommend surgery to repair your joint.
Don’t put up with the pain of temporomandibular joint disorder. If you need of treatment, call our office to schedule a consultation at 661-282-7512, or you can book an appointment online.