What is TMJ?

TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint. When medical professionals mention a condition affecting the TMJ, they are referring to a group of disorders that cause tenderness, pain, and dysfunction in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles.

The temporomandibular joint connects your lower jaw to your skull, and allows you to speak, eat, chew, and move your mouth normally. If you place a finger in front of your ears on the sides of your head and open and close your mouth, you can feel your temporomandibular joint moving.

TMJ is used interchangeably with “TMD” for temporomandibular joint disorders. These disorders are a common and treatable health concern. Researchers estimate as many as 10 million Americans suffer from a TMJ disorder. Read on to find out how Impeccable Smiles can help you.

What causes TMJ issues?

Temporomandibular joint disorders can be caused by trauma to the jaw or other health conditions, such as certain types of arthritis, diseases of your connective tissue, or habitually grinding your teeth together.

With most cases, the exact cause of TMJ disorder is difficult to pinpoint. Dr. DeLuca will take note of the symptoms you are experiencing, evaluate your medical history, and examine your temporomandibular joint and surrounding areas to best determine the cause of your discomfort.

Are you experiencing pain from TMJ?

Learn the symptoms of TMJ disorders to find out if treatment from Impeccable Smiles is the right choice for your oral health needs.

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How Can I Tell If I Have TMJ Disorder?

Temporomandibular joint disorders have many different signs and symptoms, ranging from mild to severe.

People who suffer from TMJ disorders might experience muscle soreness and tension in the temporomandibular joint. The chronic torment from myofascial pain and TMJ disorders triggers further complications, because these muscles control chewing, opening, and closing of the mouth.

However, it’s important to note that some patients can have TMJ disorder symptoms and still open their mouth and function normally. This is why it’s important to be aware of additional symptoms, such as:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Ear aches
  • Tender jaw muscles
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Dull, aching facial pain
  • Stiffness in the jaw muscles
  • Clicking or popping sounds when moving the jaw
  • Malocclusion (shift in upper and lower alignment of teeth)

Impeccable Smiles uses relaxation and massage techniques in addition to conventional methods to reduce symptoms and increase your quality of life. Our goal is to ensure that all of our patients obtain the best treatment to improve their overall health.

Many of our clients with TMJ disorders are easily managed in the office, while others may be severe enough to be referred to a specialist.

Dr. DeLuca may recommend simple behavioral modifications, such as avoiding chewing gum, eating softer foods, cutting food into smaller bites, or relaxation techniques. In addition, recommendations could also include individualized stretches to decrease muscle tension, medications to help you relax, reduce pain and inflammation.

A customized night-guard is often recommended to decrease clenching or grinding of the teeth. In some cases, Dr. DeLuca may also include balancing an uneven bite by adjusting or reshaping some teeth. She may recommend orthodontic treatment to improve how teeth function or fit together.