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. Our oral surgeons, Dr. Robert Wood, Dr. Nicholas Coles, and Dr. Negin Saghafi may be able to help control symptoms of TMJ issues to create a healthier, more comfortable bite.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
TMJ disorders can cause a variety of symptoms, such as tightness of the jaw muscles, clicking sounds when opening/closing the jaws, chronic jaw pain, difficulty opening the jaws, jaws snapping shut, frequent head or neck aches, or problems eating certain foods.
Causes of 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 are listed below:
- 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
The goals of treatment are to relieve any muscle spasms or inflammation around the joint. Our oral surgeons, Dr. Wood and Dr. Coles, can evaluate your condition to help you find a treatment option that works for you. Various nonsurgical treatments, such as the following, can sometimes be effective for TMJ treatment:
- 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.
TMJ Disorder Treatment at Arizona Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons
To learn more about TMJ treatment, contact our office in Tucson, AZ, or Oro Valley, AZ, for more information. One of our staff members will be happy to help you schedule a consultation.