Some estimates suggest that over 10 million Americans suffer from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, which can make chewing or even just opening and closing your mouth painful and difficult. Luckily, Patricia Primero, DDS, at The Smile Fairy Dental Spa in Naples, Florida, specializes in TMJ treatment. Dr. Primero addresses the root causes of TMJ disorders, including teeth clenching, and offers personalized treatment plans that restore your quality of life. To learn more, call the office or book an appointment online today.
Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are located on either side of your head, right in front of your ears. The TMJ functions like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. When your TMJ works properly, your jaw doesn’t have any issues. You’re able to chew, speak, and open your mouth without pain or problems.
If your TMJ is damaged or inflamed, the condition can affect certain muscles and other tissues that control healthy, pain-free jaw movement. In most cases, the pain or discomfort of a TMJ disorder is temporary and subsides on its own. In some cases, however, professional treatment is necessary to restore normal jaw function.
Common TMJ disorder signs and symptoms include:
If you experience any of these symptoms and they don’t subside on their own within a few days, you should come in and talk to Dr. Primero and obtain a diagnosis.
TMJ disorders don’t always have an exact cause. In some instances, genetics, arthritic conditions, or jaw injuries inflame the joints and muscles near the TMJ.
However, a common cause of a TMJ disorder is clenching or grinding your teeth, known medically as bruxism. Clenching your teeth constantly, especially at night, can lead to the misalignment of your jaw muscles.
First, Dr. Primero performs a thorough clinical assessment of your joint symptoms and function. This involves discussing your symptoms with you and having a comprehensive physical examination.
In some cases, she may recommend special radiographic imaging and other diagnostic tests to obtain an accurate diagnosis.
Dr. Primero always approaches the treatment of TMJ disorders in a personalized fashion to best meet your needs. Your specific treatment plan may include wearing an oral appliance, such as a night guard or stabilization splint. These appliances often help alleviate strain on the joints and produce excellent pain relief results.
However, if you’re dealing with persistent and serious TMJ problems, surgery may be the most appropriate course of action.
If you’re dealing with lingering symptoms of a TMJ disorder, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.