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TMJ disorder (or TMD) causes painful stiffness that radiates from the jaw. This can manifest suddenly, leaving sufferers scrambling to find relief.
Many people look to their doctors, which often leads to a referral to a specialist. This delay in treatment can leave the patient in pain for an extended amount of time, often unnecessarily.
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
Pain and stiffness originating in the temporomandibular joint can have a number of causes.
While many call the condition TMJ, that is actually just an acronym for the joint itself. TMJ disorder (TMD) refers to the symptoms that arise when this joint is overworked or stressed in some manner.
There is controversy in the medical field about the exact causes of TMJ, but there are several conditions that can lead to the disorder:
- Head or neck trauma
- Dental occlusion
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
Do You Have TMD?
Pain that radiates from the temporomandibular joint to the face, neck, or shoulders can be attributed to any of the above causes, and additional symptoms may include:
- Jaw clicks or pops when you open your mouth
- Pain when opening your mouth or eating
- Tension around the neck and shoulders
- Discomfort with specific bite positions
- Swelling on the sides of your face
- Jaw becomes stuck
- Frequent headaches
- Ringing in the ears
TMJ and Your Dentist
While many TMJ disorder sufferers are directed to an ear, nose, and throat specialist, this is not always the fastest way to achieve relief.
The first thing you want to do is call your dentist and ask if they offer TMD treatment. If not, locate a dentist who provides comprehensive services, including diagnostics and therapy for TMJ disorder.
Such a dentist understands the relationship between teeth grinding, misalignment, and TMD. An examination of your dental structure and alignment will allow them to determine if a dental issue is causing your jaw stiffness and pain.
Dental Treatment of TMJ Disorder
A dentist who treats TMD may offer a specially designed TMJ splint to wear while sleeping. This helps retrain misaligned jaw muscles to rest in the proper position.
BOTOX® for TMJ Disorder
BOTOX® injections can also be prescribed to alleviate jaw tension. BOTOX® temporarily prevents the muscles surrounding the joint from over-contracting.
The entire procedure takes 30 minutes or less to receive and will last for about six months.
Get Fast Relief from TMJ Disorder in La Jolla
Dr. Kami Kohani can diagnose and treat most cases of TMJ right in his office with either of these methods and often achieves optimal results by combining them.
TMJ disorder can significantly interfere with daily life, and you owe it to yourself to have your symptom assessed quickly.
If you think you have TMJ disorder, contact La Jolla Cosmetic Dentistry & Orthodontics at 858-295-0603 and schedule a consultation with Dr. Kohani.