Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) lets you open and close your mouth to eat, speak, and grin. As a joint, it contains many parts that help it move smoothly. If your TMJ hurts, pops, or feels stiff, dental experts Stephen Lashen, DDS, Jessica Klein, DMD, and Jason Klein, DMD, can evaluate and treat it at Lashen Dental Group in Denville, New Jersey. Book your appointment for TMJ pain by phone or online at Lashen Dental Group today.

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What is TMJ?

Your temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, are the two hingelike joints connecting your lower jawbone to the temples on your head. Moving your TMJs allows you to open and close your mouth. If the joints aren’t functioning properly, you could have a TMJ disorder.

TMJ disorders arise from a number of different causes. You can develop a TMJ disorder after an injury or due to a chronic (long-term) condition affecting your joints like arthritis. Teeth grinding (bruxism) also puts you at risk of developing a TMJ disorder as it places pressure on your temporomandibular joints, even when you’re not thinking about it.

Thankfully, most cases of TMJ disorders find relief with home care and simple nonsurgical treatments. The team at Lashen Dental Group evaluates your TMJ and designs a fitting treatment plan for you. They focus on relieving your symptoms and helping you move your jaw freely.

What symptoms are associated with TMJ complications?

TMJ disorders come with many potential symptoms, some of which don’t affect the joints themselves. If you notice several of these symptoms associated with TMJ and they don’t go away with home care, you should book an appointment at Lashen Dental Group:

  • Jaw pain or tenderness
  • Trouble chewing
  • Jaw locking
  • Clicking sounds when you move your jaw
  • Grating or popping sensation when you move your jaw
  • Ear pain
  • Headaches

If you have a TMJ disorder, it could flare up when you go through a particularly stressful period of life. TMJ disorders are much more common in women than in men, but anyone can get them.

How is TMJ pain treated?

When you come to Lashen Dental Group with TMJ symptoms, the team starts by giving you a physical exam. They will ask you to move your jaw and listen for sounds when you do. They might also touch or press your jaw to see if it’s tender. Finally, they could X-ray your TMJ for an up-close view.

Generally, TMJ disorders are treatable without surgery. Your treatment plan can include:

  • Muscle relaxants
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Physical therapy for your jaw
  • Specialized mouth guards

If no other method helps, the team can refer you to an oral surgeon for TMJ surgery. At home, you should let your jaw rest, enjoy soft foods only, and massage your jaw muscles for relief.

To find relief from pain and stiffness affecting your TMJ, call Lashen Dental Group or book an appointment online today.