Headaches, neck pain, difficulty talking and chewing... these can all be signs of TMJ, or temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Your dentist in Greensboro, NC, Dr. Michelle Mottinger, is well-trained in this area of dentistry, and she's provided some information about what causes TMJ and how she can help you manage this common problem if it's been disrupting your daily life.
What is TMJ?
Your jaws, in clinical terms, are the temporomandibular joints. When one or both are out of alignment, they can produce pain in the face, ear, neck, or shoulder areas. They can also "lock up" and make opening or closing the mouth difficult or impossible. There may also be a consistent popping or clicking feeling while chewing or talking. Experts in the field of TMJ disorders estimate that nearly 10 million Americans deal with some form of TMJ, which may also be referred to as TMJD or TMD (with the D standing for dysfunction or disorder). TMJ can be caused by prior facial trauma, degeneration of the cushioning discs in the jaw (such as with arthritis), or genetic alignment abnormalities.
How is TMJ treated?
Your Greensboro dentist will start with an evaluation, which includes a discussion of your symptoms, an examination, and X-rays to determine if you're dealing with TMJ. Treatment will depend on the severity of your TMJ and the reasons for its development, the main goal of treatment is to relieve pain and take pressure off of the jaw joint. An intraoral splint, also known as a mouthguard, may be designed for you to wear at night to help reposition your jaw.
If you think you might have TMJ, contact the dental office of Dr. Mottinger in Greensboro, NC to have an evaluation. We want to help you maintain not only your dental health, but your entire wellbeing!