If you place two fingers in front of the ears and open and close your mouth, you will feel the temporomandibular joint, also known as the TMJ. A disorder of the TMJ happens when pain occurs in the joint and surrounding muscles.
TMJ Disorder Symptoms
A TMJ disorder includes several different symptoms — you may experience one or several of the symptoms below. If you are experiencing any of the following, you may have a TMJ disorder:
- Facial muscle or jaw pain
- Ear pain, ringing of the ear, or hearing loss
- Grating, popping, or clicking sounds as mouth opens and closes
- Difficulty opening the mouth completely
- Difficulty chewing foods
- Increased headaches or dizziness
An oral surgeon is able to diagnose TMJ disorders and will create a customized plan to treat your specific symptoms and its case. The cause of TMJ disorders vary but sometimes can be caused by other conditions, such as
- Grinding or clenching of teeth
- Jaw injury
- Displaced or perforated disk in the joint
- Congenital defects
- Jaw misalignment
Alleviating pain is the first goal of TMJ treatment. Your oral surgeon may prescribe a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, or muscle relaxant. They may also recommend a steroid applied to the area. Consistent self-care treatments at home can be very effective as part of your TMJ disorder treatment, including ice and heat, eating soft foods, resting your jaw, jaw exercises, and keeping your teeth apart when you’re not eating or swallowing.
TMJ disorders can be effectively treated, but it takes time and consistent care. Our oral surgeons will create a customized treatment plan and help you be as comfortable as possible during your treatment. We encourage you to call our office in Metairie, LA, or Gretna, LA, if you are experiencing any signs of a TMJ disorder.