How do I know if I have a TMJ disorder?

 

Dollarphotoclub_65729127-300x247Problems can arise in any of the bones, tendons or muscles that compose the jaw, resulting in a painful temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Unfortunately, the primary symptom associated with a TMJ disorder—facial and jaw pain—is also the hallmark of a number of other conditions, and in order to get effective treatment, you must first know what your specific issue is.

An oral surgeon has extensive knowledge of the jaw’s structure, and this expertise is tremendously valuable in helping to differentiate whether a patient has a TMJ disorder or if another condition is causing the discomfort.

Some additional symptoms that may point to a TMJ disorder include difficulty opening and closing the jaw, difficulty chewing and popping and clicking sounds that come from the jaw. Our oral surgeons will also ask if you’ve suffered any facial trauma, which can also interfere with the proper functioning of the jaw.

Although you can initially consult with a surgeon to diagnose TMJ disorder, the recommended treatment may not necessarily be an invasive one. Many patients respond well to conservative interventions, such as over-the-counter painkillers, dietary changes, muscle relaxers or physical therapy. Your dentist may manage the condition in these cases.

Structural deficiencies in the jaw, such as a damaged disc or misaligned jaws, which are contributing to TMJ pain may need to be addressed surgically though. Even cases that do require surgery can be addressed with minimal scarring. Depending on the problem, it may be appropriate to complete the procedure in an outpatient setting and medical or dental insurance often cover a significant portion of the costs associated with treatment.

TMJ disorders are often painful conditions that can drastically reduce a patient’s quality of life. But patients who have symptoms that could be due to TMJ don’t have to suffer.

Call our office to schedule an evaluation to get an official diagnosis, and then you can learn about treatments that might be effective for you.