Inflamed jaw joints cause TMJ disorders. They produce a wide range of symptoms, including jaw pain, clicking or popping of the jaw, tension headaches, earaches, facial swelling, and more. These symptoms can have a huge impact on patients suffering from this disorder. We are happy to provide TMJ treatment options to patients needing specialized care. We will do our best to help you manage your symptoms and prevent future pain or discomfort.
TMJ Treatment in Bethesda, MD
Dr. Khanna is an experienced restorative dentist who can help address complex dental concerns such as TMJ disorders. The symptoms of TMJ disorders can have debilitating effects on patients. Our dental care team will do their best to find the underlying cause of your TMJ disorder and treat it effectively.
Causes of TMJ Disorders
There is no single thing that causes TMJ disorders. A combination of different factors usually causes it. When we treat TMJ disorders, we work to determine the root causes so we can treat the root of the problem instead of just managing the symptoms. The dentist performs a thorough oral exam and discusses your symptoms and current habits to get a complete background.
One of the most common causes of TMJ is when you’re grinding and clenching your teeth. Usually, this happens at night when you don’t even realize that you’re doing it. You may catch yourself absentmindedly grinding your teeth throughout the day, too, while you’re stressed or concentrating hard. The continuous action slowly wears down the jaw joint and strains the muscles throughout the jaw and face.
Another common cause is when your bite doesn’t come together properly. Your bite is designed to come together and evenly distribute pressure throughout your smile. It also impacts how smoothly your jaw joint travels. The disc that allows your jaw to track smoothly starts to wear down because it’s continually moving in this odd alignment. Because this starts to break down, you experience function issues with the jaw.
Other medical conditions can aggravate this condition. Arthritis is a degenerative bone condition that impacts the joints and how they function. Trauma or injury can impact the jaw joint as well. It may shift things out of alignment so the jaw isn’t at the angle it should be.
You can’t always control the causes of TMJ, but there are some things you can do that can make the condition worse. Habits like biting your nails or chewing on pens send your jaw function into overdrive. Don’t use your teeth as tools, either. It puts extra strain on the teeth and jaw muscles. Taking big bites of food can overwork your jaw, too. Even sleeping on your stomach can put you at risk of stressing the condition more.
Do I Have TMJ?
Many different symptoms can point to TMJ disorders. The most common usually involve pain or tension in the jaw area. The pain can travel throughout your face and neck, also leading to frequent headaches, particularly right when you wake up. Pain in and around your ear can also be telling because that’s around where the jaw joint is located. TMJ pain is usually more prominent when you’re using your jaw, usually while you’re chewing up food.
TMJ disorders usually make your jaw pop, click, and make other noises. But usually, this comes with pain or a loss of function if it’s TMJ. You may have trouble chewing or opening and closing your mouth. Your mouth may get stuck in a certain position, or you may not be able to move it a certain way. If you’re noticing a clicking or grating noise from the jaw joint, but your jaw doesn’t seem affected otherwise, it’s likely something else.
TMJ Treatment FAQs
Does TMJ cause your headaches or jaw pain? Learn more about the condition by reading the answers to these frequently asked questions.
Why do I have a TMJ disorder?
TMJ disorders occur for many different reasons. Many patients develop TMJ disorders after years of leaving their teeth grinding untreated. Additionally, TMJ disorders may occur if you have missing or misaligned teeth. Patients who clench their jaw together under stress are also likely to experience the signs and symptoms of a TMJ disorder.
What are my treatment options for TMJ?
This will depend on the underlying cause of your TMJ disorder. Every patient is different and thus will require different treatment options. You may need to correct your bite pattern using restorative dentistry solutions. Otherwise, we will recommend oral appliance therapy to manage your jaw health and prevent unwanted pressure from inflaming your jaw joints.
My jaw hurts right now. What can I do?
You can do many things to attempt to relieve pressure on your jawbone. First, we recommend patients leave reminders for themselves around their workspace to stretch and relax their jaw muscles whenever possible. This will prevent tension from building up around your jaw joints. Second, holding a cold compress to your jawbone can prevent inflammation and swelling. Finally, we recommend taking over-the-counter pain medication to manage your discomfort until you can see a dentist and find a long-term solution.
Schedule an Appointment
If you’re having jaw pain or problems with function, it’s important to get it checked out. Call us or schedule an appointment online.