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What You Need to Know About TMJ and Orthodontics

Temporal mandibular disorder is a condition that affects the jaw. It can cause pain and physical discomfort and may impact your psychological wellbeing. It has also been known to cause migraines in some people. In this article, we’ll explore some facts about the disorder and go over how orthodontics helps to treat TMJ.

What Is TMJ?

TMJ is a disorder that affects the function of the jaw joint. The jaw joint allows you to speak and chew food properly. If you have a problem with the temporal mandibular joint, you may find it hard to talk or eat. It may also cause jaw misalignment problems.

Several factors can cause temporal mandibular joint disorder. For that reason, there is no clear consensus of its definition. However, TMJ is referred to by orthodontists as any condition that affects the jaw joint.

Causes of TMJ Disorder

During TMJ treatment, an orthodontist will evaluate all the factors that could be causing the disorder. One of the leading causes is trauma to the jaw, which may cause chronic pain. Even when the injury is not severe, it can trigger muscle hyperactivity, which will, in turn, lead to TMJ.

Osteoarthritis is another common cause of the disorder. Osteoarthritis will deplete the jaw bone and weaken the joint. You may experience pain and difficulty chewing food.

Other causes of TMJ include:

  • Jaw abnormalities caused by genetic factors
  • Bruxism or grinding of teeth
  • Erosion of the jaw bone
  • Missing teeth or jaw misalignment
  • Stress and depression

Signs and Symptoms of TMJ

Orthodontics for treating TMJ follows a process that carefully evaluates your symptoms to establish the cause of the disorder. You should talk to your family orthodontist if you have the following symptoms.

  • Limited Jaw Movement: You may feel a sensation of pain or tenderness around the temporomandibular joint. You may also feel pain or discomfort in your lower jaw when laughing, or any time you try to move it in any direction.
  • Bruxism: Grinding teeth could be a symptom as well as a cause for TMJ. Early treatment will prevent further damage to your jaws and teeth.
  • Myofascial Pain: You may have TMJ if you notice pain around your neck, face, and jaw area.
  • Joint Noises: You may hear popping and clicking sounds when you open or close your mouth. It is an indication that the disc is displaced within the joint.
  • Ear Aches: Aches or ringing in your ears could mean that you have temporal mandibular joint disorder.

Treatment Options

Your treatment will depend on factors such as your medical history, response to medication, and the severity of the joint disorder. Orthodontics for treating TMJ may be necessary if you have teeth misalignments. An orthodontist may propose braces to address malocclusions.

Visiting an Orthodontist

An orthodontist spends years studying the muscle of the jaw and how to treat related conditions. They can provide medication to ease the pain, along with certain therapeutic exercises to help. Some patients may require mouth guards or surgical correction procedures to treat temporal mandibular joint disorder.

Schedule an Appointment Today

It is wise to see an orthodontic professional as soon as you notice any symptoms of TMJ. Bruxism, stress, and malocclusions can trigger further jaw problems and make the condition worse. Make a point of consulting local Hanover orthodontist Dr. David Ross for treating TMJ today.