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What Is TMJ Disorder?

A blue gloved hand uses yellow pen to point to the TMJ on the side of a skull

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull on each side of your head. The TMJ makes it possible for you to open and close your mouth and move it forward, backward, and side to side. Dysfunction can occur when something interferes with the movement of this complex system of muscles, discs, and ligaments.

Unfortunately, if you’re experiencing temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), smiling, speaking, and other facial movements and expressions can cause you significant pain. This pain can be isolated to your jaw, radiate through your face and/or neck, and contribute to chronic headaches.

Possible Causes of TMJ Disorder

  • Jaw misalignment
  • Teeth grinding
  • Poor posture
  • Arthritis
  • Intense Stress

Treating TMJ Disorder

Our expert team can help diagnose any issues you may be experiencing with your jaw. In addition to asking questions about your symptoms and how they affect your quality of life, their evaluation can include dental X-rays and a clinical examination to check your joints and muscles for clicking, popping, and difficulty moving.

Treatment can include self-care remedies at home and guided help from healthcare professionals. For example:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers – Anti-inflammatories may be taken to reduce pain or swelling.
  • Relaxation techniques to reduce stress – Using methods to calm down can help reduce facial and neck tension.
  • Wearing a customized mouthguard to sleep – A nightguard or bite guard can help protect teeth from wear and tear from teeth grinding while providing support to the jaw muscles and joints to relieve soreness and pain.
  • Orthodontic treatment – Sometimes TMJ issues can be triggered by bite issues and can be effectively treated with orthodontics.
  • Physical therapy – Physical therapy sessions can involve stretching, exercises, and massaging to strengthen and relax your jaw.

Do You Have Jaw Pain?

If you’re experiencing issues with your jaw, please contact Spring Lake Oral Surgery today. We provide a variety of specialty dental services, including care for patients struggling with TMJ disorder.

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