The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the jawbone to the skull. TMJ disorders often cause discomfort in the cheek, jaw, or ear areas and can affect normal jaw function.
Throughout all the stress that we put our joints through, patients may not realize that the soreness or pain they are experiencing in their jaw or ears may be due to stresses on their temporomandibular joint.
In less severe cases TMJ disorders can be treated with self-managed care (eating soft foods, using ice packs, avoiding extreme jaw movement) or nonsurgical treatments (anti-inflammatory medications, Botox injections, or stabilization splints).
When treatment for significant TMJ disorders is needed, we will work in concert with an oral surgeon to coordinate care.
Custom Oral Appliances
We make custom-fitted night guards to alleviate stress on the temporal mandibular joint (TMJ) which may be resulting in soreness or pain.
Our office can fabricate custom appliances to help alleviate those stresses and prevent further damage and pain. Typically worn at night, these removable acrylic appliances can help provide relief from temporomandibular joint pain and other effects of grinding the teeth.
TMJ conditions fall into three main categories:
- Myofascial pain – discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function (grinding teeth can result in this type of TMJ disorder)
- Internal derangement of the joint – a possible indicator of a displaced disc, dislocated jaw, or injury to the condyle
- Arthritis – a degenerative inflammatory disorder
Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders are frequently intensified by stress and can include:
- Soreness in the cheek or jaw area
- Pain in or around the ears
- Facial pain
- Tight jaws
- Popping or clicking sounds when opening mouth
- Locking of the jaw
- Difficulty chewing