TMJ disorder refers to a medical condition affecting the temporomandibular joint. This is the name for the joints on both the left and right side that connect the jaw and the skull. TMJ disorder is the name given to the condition that occurs when any of these joints are not functioning in the way they are supposed to. Our doctors can help people in the Somerset County and Hunterdon County areas who are suffering from discomfort as a result of TMJ disorder. The result is a healthier, more comfortable jaw, which results in less pain and an overall higher quality of life.
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
It’s very difficult, and sometimes nearly impossible, for even a trained medical professional to discover the exact cause of this disorder. The discomfort a person feels may be the result of arthritis, an injury to the jaw, or simply an inherited defect due to their genetics. Many people who experience one or more of these tend to clench their jaw or grind their teeth, which can lead to further discomfort and structural damage to both the jaw and mouth.
People who are afflicted by this disorder often ask what exactly is happening in the mouth to someone who is suffering from TMJ disorder? The temporomandibular joint works by combining a sliding motion with a hinge-like movement when it functions as it is intended to. The bones that connect with the joint have a layer of cartilage around them and are separated by a small disc helping to absorb the shock that comes from everyday activities, such as eating and drinking. TMJ disorder can happen when this disk becomes eroded or misaligned, thus no longer allowing it to do its job. The cartilage around the bones may also be damaged – this often occurs due to arthritis, which may have previously gone undetected.
Our doctors in Somerset County and Hunterdon County are highly experienced medical professionals and can perform an examination to determine if a person has TMJ disorder, as the diagnosis is the first step on the road to a successful treatment plan.
Many people suffering from this disorder may notice a clicking sound when they open and close their mouth or otherwise try and move their jaw. They may also feel an unexplained grinding sensation as well. If this is accompanied with an uncomfortable feeling or limited movement in the jaw, our doctors will provide an accurate diagnosis and then begin to discuss treatment options.
Some other common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Discomfort around the ear
- Frequent jaw discomfort
- Difficulty chewing or drinking
- Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
- An aching sensation in other parts of the face
If these symptoms persist and interfere with daily life or general comfort, our doctors in Somerset County and Hunterdon County can provide treatment options to reduce the discomfort and return mobility to the jaw.
In some cases, the discomfort associated with TMJ disorder may eventually go away on its own. However, if symptoms continue, our doctors can provide relief to patients in the Somerset County and Hunterdon County areas.
Some treatment options include:
- A mouth guard – One option is having a mouth guard fitted over the teeth. This helps cut down on joint pain and any grinding associated with the disorder.
- Physical therapy – Some types of exercises will help strengthen and stretch the jaw muscles. Other types of physical therapy include heat and ice along with ultrasound.
- Relaxation techniques – Deep breathing and meditation can help reduce the tension felt in and around the temporomandibular joint. This can help with clenching or grinding and lead to a more comfortable jaw.
Medications can also help reduce the discomfort that’s associated with the disorder. Used in conjunction with natural treatment options, they can help alleviate the symptoms of TMJ disorder.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories can help with discomfort. This includes NSAIDs like ibuprofen. However, sometimes they’re not enough. If the discomfort is affecting a person’s daily life, a treatment plan may need to be made with our doctors. Muscle relaxers are also used to relieve serious discomfort. These are meant only for temporary relief while a more natural treatment option is developed.
Get Relief from TMJ Disorder
Our doctors help Somerset County and Hunterdon County patients suffering from TMJ disorder achieve a more comfortable, healthier jaw. By evaluating a patient’s jaw and teeth, a plan will be created if any corrective procedures are needed and if a mouth guard should be fitted to protect the teeth from grinding. Our doctors will also determine if medication is needed for discomfort and what type of therapy a patient will benefit from. Contact us if symptoms of TMJ disorder persist. We are here to help.
The Somerset Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Group has been providing compassionate care to generations of Somerset County and Hunterdon County patients. With convenient hours, and offices in Somerville, Lebanon & Hillsborough we provide unparalleled access to care for both our patients and referring doctors.
If you believe you are suffering from TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders, contact our offices in the Somerset County and Hunterdon County area to schedule a consultation.