While many people associate pain in the jaw with dental problems, it’s not necessarily tooth or gum infections, but rather problems with the temporomandibular joint – TMJ, for short. The TMJ is the joint where your mandible – the lower part of your jaw – connects to your skull on either side of your head. A significant percentage of the population – perhaps as high as 12% of Americans – suffer from TMJ disorder, which can be manifested in symptoms such as pain, grinding or clicking, stiffness, or limited jaw movement.
Just as there are many symptoms of TMJ disorder, there are many possible causes. Causes can range from physical injuries (such as sports injuries that misalign the jaw), infections, stress, and even dental problems. The wide range of causes makes TMJ disorders difficult to diagnose – many medical doctors capable of treating sports injuries are ill-equipped to diagnose or treat dental problems, just as many dentists are unable to properly treat stress disorders. For this reason, finding the proper professional to both diagnose and treat TMJ disorder is important – dedicated TMJ treatment centers, staffed by doctors who specialize in all of the potential causes of TMJ disorders, are often the most likely to properly diagnose and treat the disorder quickly.
The treatments for TMJ disorders will vary based on the cause. Treatments may include combinations of pain medications, dental or orthodontic procedures to align teeth for proper bite, surgery to correct physical injuries, physical therapy to adjust muscle tensions that are causing problems, or even sleep and stress therapy to assist patients in relaxing so that their own muscles do not cause strain for the jawbone.
If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort in your jaw, consider seeing a specialist. While the diagnosis may not be as easy as other medical problems, a dedicated TMJ doctor can help relieve your pain and solve your jaw-related problems.
For more information on TMJ contact Tory Hill Dental for an appointment at 207-929-6626 or via our website at https://toryhilldental.com.