What Is TMJ Disorder?
Your temporomandibular joints are gliding ball and socket joints that operate like hinges, allowing you to open and close your jaws. These jaw joints are crucial for enabling you to bite, chew, speak, and swallow. You have a disc between each of these ball and socket joints, which provides cushioning. In short, the act of opening and closing your jaws requires a complex interplay of joints, discs, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. If anything disrupts this process from occurring smoothly, it is a type of TMJ disorder.
TMD Causes and Symptoms
There are many possible causes and contributing factors of TMD, although in many patients, the exact cause cannot be determined. Some of the possibilities include the following:
- Physical trauma
- Misalignments of the teeth and jaws
This last risk factor, stress, can contribute to teeth grinding (known as bruxism). Over time, teeth grinding can lead to a TMJ disorder.
Pain, tenderness, and stiffness of the jaw are the most common symptoms of TMJ disorder. Others are as follows:
- Pain in the temporomandibular joints (beneath the ears)
- Difficulty opening the mouth to eat or speak
- Painful chewing
- Aching facial pain
- Clicking or grating sound when the jaws are opened
What Happens If You Don’t Treat TMJ Disorder?
At first, TMD-related pain and jaw stiffness might seem like a minor nuisance that only affects you occasionally. Life is busy, so you might decide to put off seeking care. Unfortunately, if TMJ disorder is left untreated, the pain and other symptoms are likely to get much worse over time. You’ll also be at a higher risk of the following problems:
- Debilitating neck pain
- Long-lasting jaw joint inflammation
- Permanent damage to the jaw joints
- Trauma to the teeth
- Higher risk of sleep apnea
- Bite misalignments
Severe TMD can even cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and nausea. The good news is that an effective treatment for TMJ disorder is just a phone call away in North Barrington.
Our Dentist Offers Effective TMJ Treatment
When people experience TMD-related pain, they often turn to their primary care physicians or an urgent care center. Yet, dentists are the professionals of choice for TMJ treatment, as they specialize in the nuances of the jaw joints. At Lakeside Dental, Dr. Janet Century offers effective TMJ treatment, including Botox.
Botox works by relaxing tense jaw muscles, relieving tension, tightness, and pain. Our dentist may also administer injections into the forehead and temple as a proactive TMJ headache treatment. You’ll begin to feel some relief right away, although it may take a few days to feel the full effects of the treatment.
In addition to TMJ treatment with Botox, we may recommend any of the following:
- Nightguard – To prevent bruxism, or teeth grinding
- Orthodontics – To align your bite pattern
- Exercises – To strengthen your jaw muscles
- Medications – To relax the jaw muscles
- Heat therapy – To ease pain
- Relaxation techniques – Such as biofeedback to manage jaw tension
- Lifestyle modifications – Including eating softer foods and avoiding chewing non-food items
Contact Lakeside Dental in North Barrington, IL
Effective TMJ treatment is just a phone call away. Get in touch with Lakeside Dental in North Barrington, IL to schedule a consult for TMJ pain treatment. Dr. Janet Century has extensive experience working with patients with TMJ disorder and will walk you through the pros and cons of all of your treatment options. Call us or use the contact form to request an appointment.