Suffering with frequent headaches? Jaw pain? Difficulty chewing? You may have a Temporomandibular disorder (TMD), or bite disorder, commonly called TMJ.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ), is a dental health condition where the chewing muscles within the mouth are greatly affected in functionality. These are located near the joints between the base of the skull and the lower jaw. For most patients, TMJ is the result of an underlying dental problem that has led to an imbalance in the bite.
While in most cases, the signs and symptoms of the disorder are not severe, they can affect the quality of life and lead to more complex dental problems down the road. Monroe, NC Dentist Dr. Leonard Hess offers diagnosis and treatment for bite disorders such as TMJ to relieve symptoms and restore your quality of life.
Symptoms of the Disorder
Patients suffering from a TMJ disorder, experience the following troubling signs of TMJ:
- Limited or restricted jaw mobility
- Teeth clenching or grinding
- Signs of tooth wear
- Shoulder and neck pain
- Migraines or headaches
- Popping, grating or clicking noises while chewing or during mouth movement
- Muscle pain around the jaw area
- Feeling of a stuck jaw which makes eating difficult
All of these symptoms are clear signs that you might be suffering from a TMJ disorder.
Causes of TMJ
The disorder may be caused by a variety of underlying problems:
- Bruxism, that is grinding and clenching of teeth during sleep
- Any injury to the joint area caused by an accident or surgical procedure
- Any bite disorders, like an uneven bite due to fitted dentures, fillings and dental crowns
TMJ Therapy: Treatment Options
To ensure a good quality of life and lasting dental health, it is important to seek treatment in the early stages. Dr. Hess will assess your overall dental health, including the function of your jaw joints, to determine the underlying cause of TMJ. He will look for signs of teeth grinding, a common symptom of a bite disorder which can lead to damaged or lost teeth. Dr. Hess will create an individual treatment plan designed to help restore a healthy smile and lasting oral health.
Treatment options can include:
- Dental splint therapy
- Orthodontic treatment
- Occlusal equilibration
Left untreated, TMJ can have a dramatic impact on oral health over time, often damaging teeth and further affecting the alignment of the bite.
If you are suffering with any of the symptoms mentioned above, or have been avoiding the dentist for some time, call our Monroe, NC dentist office and schedule an appointment. Dr. Hess can help you get back a healthy, functional and happy smile.