Manage Jaw Joint Pain and Conditions
The temporomandibular joint (also called the TMJ) refers to the jaw joint, which holds your jaw bone onto the rest of the skull. Sometimes people develop disorders related to their TMJ, causing pain, difficulty using the jaw, or other issues. Drs. Wood, Coles, Saghafi, and Holbrook will help control symptoms of TMJ issues so that you can perform daily tasks comfortably while ensuring a proper bite.
If you suffer from jaw joint pain or jaw clicking, we encourage you to contact Arizona Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons. Our oral surgeons offer both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for TMJ disorders in Tucson and Oro Valley, AZ.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
TMJ disorders affect everyone differently. Some patients experience minimal discomfort, while others find it difficult to eat or speak without pain or jaw locking. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, you may have a TMJ disorder:
- Tightness of the jaw muscles
- Clicking sounds when opening or closing the jaws
- Chronic jaw pain
- Difficulty fully opening the jaws
- Jaws snapping shut
- Frequent head or neck aches
- Problems eating certain foods
What Causes TMJ Disorders?
It isn’t always clear what exactly causes a TMJ disorder to arise. Sometimes a history of arthritis or other joint problems can contribute. In other cases, excess stress or injuries can lead to future jaw problems. Knowing the cause of the issue can help your doctor find the best treatment for your condition.
Some of the most common causes of TMJ disorders include:
- Tightening of the jaw muscles due to overuse, clenching, or grinding of the teeth
- Untreated facial injuries
- Bite alignment problems
- Displacement of the joint’s disc
Treatment for a TMJ Disorder
The goals of treatment are to relieve any muscle spasms or inflammation around the joint, help you achieve a proper bite, and prevent future issues. Our oral surgeons will use 3D scans to assess the bone and soft tissues surrounding the joint, then create a treatment plan unique to your needs.
Nonsurgical options will be considered first. Sometimes simple lifestyle changes can greatly reduce the discomfort of a TMJ disorder. These changes include:
- Improving your posture
- Resting the jaw and keeping teeth apart while not eating
- Eating soft, non-chewy foods for a while
- Applying ice or hot packs
- Stress management
- Night guards to prevent grinding and clenching teeth at night
- Prescribed muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories, or pain relievers
- Physical therapy or jaw exercises
- Steroid shots in the joint area
When these lifestyle changes and other treatments are unsuccessful, joint repair surgery or bite alignment surgery may be necessary. Our surgeons will only consider surgery in cases that are very severe when no other treatments can help. If surgical intervention is necessary, we will discuss your options for anesthesia prior to any surgical procedure so that you remain as comfortable as possible.
If you experience jaw joint pain, our oral surgeons can help. Contact Arizona Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons to learn more about TMJ treatment. One of our staff members will be happy to help you schedule a consultation.
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We’ve been caring for patients in southern Arizona for over 50 years. As board-certified experts, our surgeons bring years of training and expertise to you and your loved ones with the highest standards. Learn more about our office or contact Arizona Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons today to see how we can improve your oral health.