TMJ disorders are caused by a number of factors, and can lead to conditions such as headaches, pain and stiffness in the jaw, and difficulty opening or closing the mouth. If you are looking for a dentist in Las Vegas to help treat your TMJ disorder, there are a few things you should know before you go.
What Is TMJ Disorder?
The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) on each side of your head connect your jawbone to your skull. They act as hinges when you open and close your mouth, eat, speak and swallow. In addition, these joints, muscles, bones and ligaments control the lower jaw as it moves side-to-side, forward and backward.
The bones that work together within the joints are coated with cartilage and separated by a disc that sits between the ball and socket. This disc cushions the joint and allows for smooth movement of the jaw. Anything that impedes the complex elements of the joint from working in-sync can lead to a painful TMJ disorder known as TMD.
Causes and Symptoms
Oftentimes, the specific cause of a TMJ disorder may not be clear – causes may include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
- Jaw injury
- Chronic grinding and/or clenching of teeth
- Certain connective tissue diseases
- Joint dislocation
- Stress or anxiety
- Misaligned teeth and bite
- Erosion or misalignment of the disk in the joint
Symptoms of a TMJ disorder may include:
- Pain or tenderness in one or both of the temporomandibular joints
- Aching pain in and around the ear
- Headaches and aching facial pain
- Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
- Limited range of motion
- Clicking or grating when opening or closing the mouth
- Locking of the temporomandibular joint
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosis is an important step in determining the most effective treatment for TMJ disorder. Your dentist in Las Vegas will palpate joints and muscles to identify areas of tenderness, listen for clicking and popping when you open and close your mouth, and observe the range of motion in your jaw. Some types of X-rays can also help your dentist determine whether you are suffering from a TMJ disorder.
Often, the discomfort associated with TMJ disorders is temporary and can be relieved with nonsurgical treatments, such as:
- Eating a soft food diet
- Medications such as anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers
- Mouth guards or bite plates that protect teeth and jaws from grinding or clenching
- Application of heat packs
- Relaxation techniques such as medication to control jaw tension
- Jaw-strengthening exercises
- Fixing an uneven bite by adjusting or reshaping teeth
- Orthodontic treatment
- Botox injections to relieve jaw pain and headaches
How Our Dentist in Las Vegas Can Help
Our compassionate and professional dentist in Las Vegas can help you find solutions for your TMJ disorder. Our experienced dental team is dedicated to providing comfortable, top-quality dentistry for all of our patients. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Desert Breeze Dental at 702-869-0032 today! We look forward to taking care of all of your dental care needs.