TMJ Therapy in Farmington, MI
If your temporomandibular joints function well, then you may not even know where these joints are located on your body. However, if they give you trouble, then you no doubt know exactly where they are. Place your forefingers on both sides of your face just in front of your ears and open and close your mouth or wiggle your jaw. You’ll be able to feel the temporomandibular joints working. However, if these joint don’t work properly, then just these simple movements can cause discomfort.
What Causes TMJ?
Dentists and researchers are not certain about what causes temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, but research indicates that the problem may begin with the muscles of your jaw or the joints themselves. A serious injury to the jaw, head or neck may also lead to TMJ. Other causes may include:
- Bruxism, or teeth grinding and clenching
- Arthritis in the jaw
- Stress, which can lead to teeth clenching and other muscle tightening habits
The Symptoms of TMJ
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction can lead to headaches, neck, and jaw pain, as well as difficulty opening and closing your mouth. In addition, you may notice that your jaw makes a clicking or popping sound when you open and close. You may also notice that you have difficulty chewing or speaking; the feeling of an earache but no sign of infection; and your jaw may feel locked or stuck at times. If you experience any of these symptoms, we encourage you to schedule a comprehensive analysis.
Diagnosing TMJ Dysfunction
At your comprehensive evaluation, Dr. Metzger will assess your symptoms and evaluate the condition of your teeth, jaw joints, and muscles. Stress, a misaligned bite, trauma, and other factors can make the two small joints in front of your ears malfunction. Dr. Metzger may also elect to take comprehensive digital x-rays of your mouth, jaw and jaw joints. With TMJ, instead of a jaw that moves smoothly, impaired function occurs.
Many patients experience an end to TMJ distress with a custom-fitted oral appliance. This comfortable, easy-to-use device places your jaw in its optimal position to reduce stress on the joints and muscles. In addition, the appliance—which is made of smooth plastic—buffers the effect of teeth grinding and clenching if either of these are a contributing factor to your TMJ dysfunction. Bruxism, which usually occurs during sleep at night, is the body’s response to stress. People often develop physical habits as a means of reducing stress; some people bite their nails while others grind their teeth.
Because bruxism usually occurs at night, the habit is hard to break. Therefore, an oral appliance can ease the effects of teeth grinding and provide relief from the discomfort of TMJ. The result is improved function and an end to painful and annoying symptoms. Dr. Metzger will monitor your progress and help you achieve pain-free TMJ function and lasting comfort.
To learn more about TMJ, or to schedule a consultation with your dentist in Farmington, MI, contact Monet Aesthetic Dentistry today.