When people say “I have TMJ,” they often refer to a TMJ Disorder from which they are suffering. In reality everyone “has TMJ” which are your temporomandibular joints – abbreviated TMJ – which make it possible to open and close your mouth. Your TMJ are situated on either side of your skull and work in tandem when you chew, speak or swallow and include muscles and ligaments as well as the jaw bone. This important system of joints also controls the lower jaw, called the mandible, as it moves forward, backward and side to side.
Each TMJ has a disc of cartilage between the ball and socket of the joint which supports the load, enabling the jaw to open wide and rotate or glide. Any problem that prevents this complicated system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working properly can be considered a TMJ disorder. The experienced dentists at Metropolitan Center for Complete Dentistry in East Hanover, NJ can diagnose and treat this problem to alleviate the discomfort of stop the progression of dental issues that TMJ disorders can bring.
What Causes TMJ Disorders (TMD)?
Possible causes of TMJ disorders include:
- Alignment of jaw and teeth
- Teeth grinding due to stress
How is TMJ Diagnosed?
A dentist must diagnose a TMD before treatment can begin. A typical dental examination for TMD includes checking the joints and muscles of the jaw for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty of motion. Depending on the severity of the diagnosis, your Metropolitan dentist may refer you to a physician or a dental specialist for more advanced treatment.
How is TMJ Treated?
For relatively simple cases, there are several methods of treatments available. These basic remedies can be attempted at home before moving on to more involved treatment from a dental or medical professional. These steps involve a “less is more” approach in treating TMJ disorders and include:
- Eating softer foods
- Avoiding chewing gum and biting your nails
- Applying heat packs to the pain
- Practicing relaxation techniques to alleviate tension in the jaw, including meditation or biofeedback.
If your symptoms are more severe, the following treatments may be recommended by your Metropolitan dentist:
- Exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles
- Medications prescribed by your dentist; such as muscle relaxants, analgesics, anti-anxiety drugs or anti-inflammatory medications
- A mouth guard or bite plate to reduce clenching or grinding of teeth.
In some cases, your dentist may suggest correcting an uneven bite by adjusting or reshaping some teeth. Orthodontic treatment may even be recommended to correct your bite if necessary.
TMJ Treatment in East Hanover, NJ
Your Metropolitan dentist can suggest the most appropriate therapy based on the determined cause. If you are in the East Hanover, NJ area and think you may be suffering from TMJ disorder, any other dental ailment or just need a cleaning or consultation, please call (973) 287-3153 to schedule with one of our dedicated dentists at Metropolitan Center for Complete Dentistry or schedule with our office online.