The temporomandibular joints are a pair of small ball-and-socket joints positioned on the side of your jaw just in front of your ears. These joints move like hinges and they allow us to open and close our mouth and move our jaw forward, backward, and sideways.
If these jaw joints become injured or diseased, they can result in a wide range of issues known as temporomandibular joint disorders or TMJ disorders.
Causes of TMJ Disorders
The exact cause of TMJ disorders is often difficult to identify since they may be caused by multiple factors in a single patient. These include:
- Injury to the jaw.
- Stress that results in treat grinding.
- Bruxism, a condition that causes you to grind teeth when sleeping.
- Aggressive and prolonged chewing.
- Orthodontic braces.
- Poor mouth posture.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
TMJ disorders are characterized by many symptoms including:
- Jaw pain.
- Clicking, popping, and grating noise when moving your jaw.
- A ringing noise in the ear.
- Muscular jaw spams.
- Swelling and pain near the temples.
Treatments for Temporomandibular Joints
At Jonathan J. Golab, DDS, PA, Dr. Jonathan Golab and can diagnose your issue and try to treat it with conservative methods. These include:
- Using Night Mouthguards: These devices are made of tough rubber and prevent your upper and lower teeth from touching each other. These can help manage the side effects of bruxism and prevent tooth damage.
- Medication: We may prescribe you non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation, relax muscles, and manage pain.
- Ultrasound: Ultrasound therapy can have a thermal effect that helps to reduce muscular pain and improve jaw movement.
- Laser Therapy: Low-level lasers can be applied to the painful spots to reduce inflammation, and improve jaw and neck mobility.
- Injections: We may inject pain medication into trigger points of your pain to relax your facial muscles and reduce pain.
- Surgery: We only recommend this path when non-invasive methods do not appear to work. Some surgical options are not too invasive and can be very effective. However, surgical procedures like open jaw surgery can be quite risky and may not have the results you expect.
When suggesting any treatment options, whether therapeutic or surgical, we will let you know about all the risks and limitations of these procedures so that you can make an informed decision and prevent complications. Most of the time, though, TMJ issues go on their own or require simple and non-invasive treatments. To discuss your options, schedule an appointment with us by calling us at (469) 444-7919.