Do you frequently wake with a headache and a tight feeling in your jaw? These are just two of the symptoms commonly experienced by patients suffering from TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder is a condition in which the temporomandibular joint is out of alignment, causing pain and reduced function of the joint. Patients who suspect they may be suffering from TMJ disorder can see Dr. Bruce Wilderman at his Philadelphia cosmetic dentistry practice for TMJ disorder treatment.
Causes and Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
There are many potential causes of TMJ disorder. For each patient, the cause may be different. In most cases, there is a combination of circumstances that may result in TMJ disorder. These may include arthritis in the jaw, an injury to the jaw, or damage to the jaw joint from habitual teeth grinding or clenching. Whatever the cause may be, there are symptoms that are typically experienced by patients who suffer from TMJ disorder. The most common signs of TMJ disorder include:
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, ears, or face
- A popping or clicking sound when the jaw joint is fully extended
- Limited function of the jaw or difficulty chewing or biting
- Occasional locked jaw, where the jaw is stuck in either the open or closed position
- Frequent headaches
A patient who is experiencing these symptoms should see Dr. Wilderman, who can examine the jaw bone and take x-rays to determine if TMJ disorder is present.
Treating TMJ Disorder
If Dr. Wilderman does find signs of TMJ disorder, there will be several treatment options to explore. Dr. Wilderman will start with conservative treatments. These may include the use of any of the following:
- Pain medication: Pain medication may be recommended to alleviate the physical discomfort caused by TMJ disorder.
- Muscle relaxants: Some patients may benefit from the use of muscle relaxants to loosen the jaw joint and ease physical discomfort.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy may be used to relax the jaw joint and restore function. This may include the use of cold and warm compresses, as well as exercises to stretch the temporomandibular joint.
- Mouth guard: Dr. Wilderman can provide patients with a custom-made mouth guard to be worn while sleeping. The mouth guard can keep the jaw properly aligned.
If the patient does not respond to these conservative treatment approaches and the pain from TMJ disorder persists, Dr. Wilderman may refer patients to a doctor for more invasive procedures. This may include cortisone shots or even surgery.
Repairing Damage Caused by TMJ Disorder
Many patients who suffer from TMJ disorder have damage to their teeth, which is likely a result of the teeth grinding or clenching together. If Dr. Wilderman sees signs of damage as a result of TMJ disorder, the tooth will be treated. For our patients in Philadelphia, dental crowns will likely be placed over the damaged tooth to provide it with strength and protection.
Schedule an Appointment
Do you think you are suffering from TMJ disorder? If so, schedule an appointment with Dr. Bruce Wilderman. Dr. Wilderman can diagnose and treat TMJ disorder to return function and comfort to your jaw.