Columbia dentist explains TMJ disorder symptoms and treatments
Many adults notice some soreness or a popping sound in the jaw. That can occur after eating something difficult to chew or opening your mouth very wide. Sometimes the discomfort is mild and quick. Other times, however, the pain can be severe, last for many days, or begin to creep into other areas of the head, face, or neck. But patients do not have to live with this pain and discomfort. Dr. Chase Patton, DDS, of Columbia, MO, can help by providing a treatment to address these symptoms of TMJ.
What is TMJ?
This common popping and pain are caused when the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is out of place. The TMJ joints allow your mouth to open and close and move from side to side so that you can chew and speak. When the joints are working properly patients barely notice it. However, when something is out of alignment, it can be quite noticeable.
What causes TMJ disorder?
TMJ disorder can be caused by an injury such as trauma to the face, or from habits or health issues such as stress, clenching or grinding the teeth, arthritis, frequently chewing gum, or a misalignment of the jaw.
Patients often feel pain in the joints of the jaw, or throughout their head, face, neck, and shoulders. Patients may also feel that their ability to open and close the jaw is limited, may hear a clicking or popping noise, or may have unexplained headaches and ear pain.
How is TMD treated?
TMJ treatment can include a change in behavior or habits that irritate the jaw, use of cold packs, jaw exercises, using orthodontic treatment to address bite issues, or using a dental appliance, to properly align the jaw, and prevent teeth clenching or grinding.
Once the disorder has been properly addressed and treated, patients immediately notice relief of the pain in the jaw. They may notice other benefits as well including less frequent headaches, less tension, and less tenderness of the jaw when chewing or yawning.