What is TMJ?

If you’ve read a list of reasons why someone might go to the dentist, you may be asking, “What is TMJ?” Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, commonly called “TMJ,” are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. It is estimated that over 10 million Americans are affected with TMJ issues, and is more common in women than men. For most people, the pain does not signal a serious problem, and discomfort is generally occasional and temporary. Some people, however, can develop significant, long-term symptoms.

What is TMJ: Symptoms and Signs

There are a variety of symptoms that may be linked to TMJ disorders. Pain, particularly in the chewing muscles or jaw joint, is the most common symptom. Other symptoms include radiating pain in the face, jaw or neck; jaw muscle stiffness; limited movement or locking of the jaw; a change in jaw alignment and painful clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth. If you think you have TMJ or have been diagnosed with TMJ, then you may want to discuss treatment options depending on the severity of the disorder.

Treatments for TMJ

Researchers are looking for answers to what causes TMJ and what the best TMJ treatment is. You should avoid any procedure that can cause permanent changes in your bite or jaw. At the Dental Group of East Brunswick, we start with the most conservative treatments. They do not invade the tissues of the face, jaw or joint and do not involve surgery. They also do not cause permanent changes in the position of your jaw or teeth. Conservative treatments include self-case practices such as applying ice packs, pain medications and eating soft foods.

There is also the option of surgical procedures, which invade the tissues and are controversial. This is a form of dentistry that some people may feel is not for them. If surgery is recommended, be sure to have the doctor explain to you the reason for the treatment, the risks involved and any other types of treatments that may be available. Our doctors are more than willing to discuss what is TMJ and treatment options with you and address your concerns no matter what treatment plan is chosen.

We strive to provide you with the dental treatments and services you need for improved oral health and function, as well as a smile that will be healthy and beautiful for life. Come in today to ask what is TMJ and how we can help you with your TMJ disorder.