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TMJ


Your mouth is made up of several different components that all work together so that you can perform a wide variety of daily tasks. One of these components is the temporomandibular joints. You have two of these joints. They are located one on each side of your face where the mandible connects to the skull. They are ball and socket joints with a disc in between. The disc works to absorb the impact of any forces exerted on your jaw. The joints allow you to open and close your mouth, bite, chew, speak, and move your jaw from side to side. When they are healthy, you are probably completely unaware of their presence. However, if the joints become irritated and inflamed, you may be faced with extreme pain that can make it difficult, if not impossible, to use your mouth for even the most minor things. At Optimum Oral Surgery Group, we can help to restore the health of your temporomandibular joints, giving you back your oral health and your quality of life.

What is TMJ?


TMJ also called TMJ disorder or TMD is a term that refers to some different issues that affect the health of your temporomandibular joints. These issues can cause irritation of the joints as well as inflammation. It becomes difficult, and painful, to do basic tasks like biting, chewing and speaking. For some, the pain could be so severe that it may feel almost impossible to move your mouth at all.
There are several symptoms that can point toward TMJ. These include:
•  Pain in the temporomandibular joints and jaw.
•  Difficulty and pain while eating, speaking, or otherwise moving your mouth.
•  Facial pain and swelling near the joints.
•  A clicking, popping, or grinding sensation in your joints.
•  Lockjaw. This is when your jaw temporarily locks open or closed, and you cannot move it.
•  Experiencing chronic headaches or earaches.

Causes of TMJ


TMJ can be caused by several different issues, including:
•  Facial trauma. This can be the result of a car accident, a sports injury, or a fall.
•  Jaw dislocation. Even whiplash, which could cause dislocation without you knowing it, can cause tiny tears in the in the jaw that can irritate.
•  Bruxism, a condition in which your grind and clench your teeth. This condition places excessive pressure on your jaw and temporomandibular joints.
•  Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

Treating Your TMJ


If your jaw and temporomandibular joints are causing you discomfort, it is time to schedule an appointment. We perform a thorough head,neck and oral exam, checking your teeth and jaws for alignment issues and assessing wear patterns. We also take images of your mouth so that we can see the roots of your teeth, your jawbone, and your joints. Once we diagnose the cause of your TMJ, we can then determine the best treatment for you. Common treatments for TMJ include:
•  Home treatments such as over the counter pain relievers and stress relief tactics like deep breathing, yoga, or meditation.
•  A night guard. A night guard is a type of oral appliance that is worn over your teeth while you sleep. Typically used for bruxism, it helps to hold your jaw in alignment and absorb the impact that your muscles exert.
•  Botox. Botox injections are commonly associated with cosmetic procedures. While effective, Botox is also effective for treating other issues, including TMJ and muscular pain.
•  Orthodontics. Alignment issues can be corrected with orthodontic appliances.
•  Oral surgery. In severe cases, oral surgery may be recommended.

If you are experiencing pain in your jaw near your temporomandibular joints and find the simplest movements painful or difficult, it is important to seek treatment right away. Call Optimum Oral Surgery Group at (856) 778-8686 today for more information.

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