Treating TMJ Disorder
Chronic oral and facial pain is more common than many patients realize, and often indicates a jaw dysfunction known as TMJ disorder (temporomandibular joint disorder). Your TMJs connect your lower jaw, or mandible, to your skull, and are the most frequently used joints in your entire body. When the joints are damaged, inflamed, misaligned, or otherwise disturbed, the resulting discomfort can become severely debilitating.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
Because TMJ disorder can disturb the trigeminal nerves that control your jaw’s movement, the symptoms of the dysfunction can range from jaw and head pain to an inability to open and close your mouth. Specifically, common symptoms of TMJ disorder can include;
- Popping or clicking sensations when you move your jaw
- Spasms in your jaw, face, neck, or shoulder muscles
- Swelling on one or both sides of your face
- Chronic headaches, including migraines
- Pain and ringing in one or both ears (tinnitus)
- Locked jaw (inability to open or close your mouth)
- And more
Treating TMJ disorder often involves the use of a custom-designed oral appliance, or nightguard, that helps your jaw rest in a more comfortable position. The realignment can allow your jaw’s joints to heal, alleviating the discomfort associated with jaw dysfunction.