Temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the joints or “hinges” that connect your jawbone to the skull. There are two on each side of the jaw, right in front of your ears. These joints support normal oral functions like chewing, speaking, yawning, and opening and closing your mouth.
The TMJ can develop a disorder or dysfunction for various reasons, causing pain, inflammation, and limited jaw movement. While the specific causes of TMJ disorders or dysfunction may be difficult to determine, common causes include stress, genetics, arthritis, bruxism, and jaw injuries or trauma.
Based on the underlying cause, TMJ symptoms can be mild to severe. Sometimes the symptoms can resolve independently or be treated with conservative measures, medication, therapies, or surgery. This guide highlights the symptoms of TMJ disorders and some of the most effective TMJ treatment near you.
Symptoms of TMJ disorders
Since TMJ disorders can be mistaken for other conditions, knowing the symptoms of TMJ can help you know when to seek professional treatment. Common signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders or dysfunction include:
Pain or difficulty moving the jaw, especially when chewing, speaking, yawning, or opening the mouth
Pain in the jaw, face, neck, ear, and head
Locking jaw or limited jaw mobility
Clicking, popping, or grating noises or sensations when moving the jaw
Stiff jaw muscles
Changes in bite alignment
You can visit our dentist in 91723 for treatment if you’re experiencing any of these or related symptoms. The dentist will diagnose your condition to determine the cause and effective treatments.
Effective Treatments for TMJ Disorders
Based on the cause and severity of your TMJ symptoms, our dentist may recommend a variety of treatment options, including conservative measures.
In cases where certain lifestyle habits cause TMJ symptoms, conservative measures can help manage or prevent the condition. These measures can include:
Avoiding hard or chewy foods that strain the jaw muscles and joints
Avoiding activities that engage your jaw for extended periods, like singing or chewing gum
Practicing relaxation techniques like meditation and controlled breathing to reduce jaw tension and stress
Cold and heat therapies to relax the jaw and reduce pain and inflammation
Avoiding bad habits like chewing pens, grinding teethor chewing ice.
Along with other treatments, your dentist may recommend the following medications to manage your symptoms:
Pain and anti-inflammatory medications to manage pain and inflammation in the jaw.
Muscle relaxants relieve tension, discomfort, and pain in the jaw muscles and joints.
If pre-existing conditions cause your TMJ disorders, treating these conditions can help manage your symptoms. For instance, treating tooth grinding can help prevent and ease TMJ symptoms. The dentists can recommend a nightguard, among other treatments for bruxism.
In cases where TMJ symptoms result from health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, the dentist may refer you to a specialist for further evaluation and treatment.
Non-medicine therapies can also be effective for managing TMJ disorders. These can include:
Oral appliances like mouthguards can help position or support the jaw and prevent or reduce TMJ symptoms. The dentist can recommend braces or clear aligners to address jaw or teeth misalignments that cause TMJ.
Physical therapy: A therapist can recommend jaw exercises, heat massages, and other physical therapies to relax the jaw and ease TMJ symptoms.
Counseling: Mental therapies education and medications may help manage and prevent stress and depression-related TMJ symptoms.
While rare, surgery may be necessary to treat TMJ disorders. However, it’s typically only considered if other treatments aren’t effective. TMJ surgeries mainly involve repairing or replacing damaged tissues, discs, and joints.
Tips for Reducing TMJ Disorders
While you can’t prevent all TMJ disorders, the following tips can help reduce the symptoms or lower the risk of developing TMJ dysfunction:
Manage stress and depression.
Practice good body posture.
Wear a mouthguard during high-contact sports to prevent jaw injuries.
Wear a nightguard for bruxism.
Avoid chewing ice and chewing gum
Avoid tobacco products and alcohol abuse.
Visit our Dentist for TMJ Treatment Near You
If you’re experiencing TMJ symptoms, seeking medical care is important to determine the best treatment to alleviate your discomfort and symptoms. For more information about TMJ disorders and treatments, contact Jeffrey L. Cohen, DDS, to book your appointment today.