What Are TMJ Disorders?

TMJ (temporomandibular joints) are the 2 joints that connect your lower jaw to
your skull. TMJ disorders are a family of problems related to the complex jaw
joint. These symptoms occur when the joints of the jaw and the surrounding
chewing muscles (muscles of mastication) do not work together as they should.
Since some types of TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early
detection and treatment is important. If your TMJ disorder has caused problems
with how your teeth fit together, you may need treatment such as bite adjustment
(equilibration), orthodontics with or without jaw reconstruction, or restorative
dental work. Surgical options such as arthroscopy and open joint repair
restructuring are sometimes needed, but are reserved for severe cases. TMJ
surgery is not considered unless the jaw can’t open, is dislocated, has severe
degeneration, pain affecting the your quality of life, or you have undergone
appliance treatment unsuccessfully.

Contact our office
for more information about the TMJ treatment options we can provide in Cleveland

Treatments for tmj disorders are available at our Cleveland TN oral surgery center for those dealing with jaw pain.

Frequently Asked Questions About TMJ Disorders

Q: What is TMJ?

A: TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. You have one on
either side of your face attaching your jaw to your skull. The muscles
surrounding this joint work to allow your mouth to open and close. Sometimes
these joints don’t move as they should or get out of alignment, causing issues
TMJ disorder.

Q: What are the signs and symptoms of TMJ disorder?

A: Symptoms of TMJ issues include pain in one or both jaw
joints, ear aches, pain when chewing, stiff muscles surrounding the jaw, pain in
the face or neck, and changes in bite/how the teeth fit together.

Q: Does a popping sound when moving the jaw mean someone has
TMJ disorder?

A: If clicking and popping of the jaw is accompanied by other
symptoms, it could be linked to TMJ disorder; however, many people’s jaws make
noise, and that alone doesn’t signify a problem.

Q: What causes TMJ?

A: The cause of TMD (temporomandibular disorder) is not always
clear. Often it is caused by slipped cartilage that surrounds the jaw. Other
potential causes include injury or dislocated jaw, misaligned teeth and/or jaws,
grinding of the teeth, and arthritis, which can damage cartilage in the joint.

Q: Who usually gets TMJ disorder?

A: Up to
15% of adults
suffer from TMJ disorder symptoms, and more women than men deal with this

Q: Can orthodontic braces cause TMD?

A: Some people believe that braces or other orthodontic
treatments can cause TMJ trouble; however, there is no research that supports
that orthodontic braces bring on TMJ symptoms.

Q: How does an oral surgeon diagnose TMD?

A: If you present with symptoms of TMD, your oral surgeon will
look for signs of jaw irritation or inflammation, listen for clicking and
grinding sounds, and look into the range of motion of your jaw– how far it can
move in any direction. The oral surgeon may also need x-rays or other imaging to
get a clearer picture of the affected joint.

Q: What options exist for TMJ treatment?

A: Some easy, first-line-of-defense remedies for TMJ include
over-the-counter pain relievers, cold or hot compress on the jaw area,
consumption of softer foods, limiting jaw movement when plausible, exercises
that stretch and relax the jaw, and limiting activities like gum chewing and
nail biting that can exacerbate symptoms.

Q: Does stress/anxiety affect TMJ symptoms?

A: Teeth grinding and jaw clenching often accompany stress and
anxiety, and can cause jaw problems. Therefore, stress management can help
minimize the TMJ symptoms a patient experiences. Your oral surgeon may suggest
exercise, meditation, and hobbies that can help reduce stress and help mitigate
jaw pain and other issues caused by TMJ flare ups.

Q: What other TMJ treatments are available for more severe

A: If you’re still experiencing issues with TMD, your oral
surgeon might recommend some of the following options for treatment:

  • A mouthguard to help protect your teeth from excessive grinding and
  • Orthodontic braces to fix a problematic, uneven bite
  • Injections of Botox into the jaw muscles to help manage pain and promote

Q: Are surgeries ever required as a TMJ treatment?

A: If your symptoms are severe enough, your Cleveland oral
surgeon might recommend surgery to address a structural problem of the jaw. In
some cases the surgeon can fix the joint problem, and in others, replace the
joint altogether. If you are suffering from the symptoms of TMJ and are seeking
TMJ treatment in the Cleveland, TN or Chattanooga areas, our team at Ocoee Oral
Surgery would love to help you get the relief you’re looking for.
Get in touch
with our office today to set up a consultation. You don’t have to just deal with
the symptoms. Let’s work together to find a treatment plan that works for your
specific case.