TMJ

Pearl Dental Group

Dentists located in Baton Rouge, LA

When something’s wrong with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), natural acts like chewing food and talking become difficult and painful. At Pearl Dental Group in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Andre Bruni, DDS, Jessica Bruni, DDS, and the team have extensive experience diagnosing and treating TMJ disorders. The practice even manufactures night guards onsite, available the same day, so you can get the relief you need quickly. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone.

TMJ

What are the signs and symptoms of a TMJ disorder?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your jaw to your skull. Think of it as a door hinge. It allows your mouth to open and close.

TMJ problems cause different symptoms depending on the person. However, in one way or another, they usually make it much harder to open and close your mouth. TMJ problems usually affect one side of your face but can affect both.

Normally, you don’t have to give much thought to opening and closing your mouth. It’s something you do countless times over the course of a day, whether to eat, chew, or talk.

When you have a TMJ disorder, these instinctive behaviors are very noticeable. It’s common to hear clicking and popping sounds when you open and close your mouth. You may not be able to open your mouth wide, and your jaw may lock while your mouth is open or closed.

TMJ disorders commonly cause facial pain, including:

  • Headaches or migraines
  • Jaw tenderness and pain
  • Facial and neck aches
  • Ear pain affected by talking, chewing, and yawning

What causes TMJ disorders?

TMJ disorders have many different causes, including your habits and other health conditions. If you have symptoms related to your TMJ joint, there may be a problem with your teeth, the joint itself, or the surrounding muscles. 

Risk factors for TMJ problems include:

  • Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism 
  • Frequently clenching your jaw
  • Jaw injuries
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Poor posture
  • Arthritis
  • Gum chewing
  • Anxiety and stress 

Though anyone can experience TMJ problems, they’re most common among women between the ages of 18 and 44.

How are TMJ disorders treated?

TMJ disorders are usually short-term and improve within a few months with treatment that targets the underlying causes. The team at Pearl Dental Group figures out the reason for your TMJ and develops a treatment plan accordingly.

Teeth grinding is a common cause of TMJ. If you grind your teeth, a night guard custom-made to fit your mouth can prevent your top and bottom sets of teeth from rubbing against each other while you sleep. A night guard can improve many symptoms of TMJ disorders, including headaches.

Pearl Dental Group offers Botox® for TMJ disorders. Botox, which has muscle-relaxing properties, reduces the jaw tension and facial pain associated with TMJ disorders. 

You may need to make everyday lifestyle changes to treat your TMJ disorder. For example, if stress contributes to your symptoms, relaxation exercises can improve the tension you carry in your jaw.

If you struggle to open or close your mouth, or have unexplained facial pain, the cause may be a TMJ disorder. Schedule an appointment at Pearl Dental Group online or over the phone.