Frequently asked questions about TMJ disorder
At Knoxville Smiles at Malone and Costa Dentistry, Drs. Stephen Malone, Michael Costa, and Breanna Costa of Knoxville, Tennessee, work with patients in and around the community to achieve beautiful, healthy smiles. One condition that is often seen is that of TMJ disorders. Continue reading to see frequently asked questions about this condition, the types, and what can be done to treat it with our dedicated team of professionals.
What are TMJ and TMJ disorders?
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is your jaw joint located on either side of your face in front of your ears. It connects your lower jaw to the temporal bone of your skull and enables you to move it up and down and sideways when you talk, eat, or yawn.
What are the types of TMJ disorders?
There are two forms of TMJ disorders: primary, which is caused by the physical structure of the joint itself, and secondary, which is caused by an external factor such as bruxism (teeth grinding), dislocation of the jaw, trauma to the face or jaws, or arthritis.
What are the common symptoms of TMJ disorders?
Disorders that affect the TMJ can cause significant pain and decreased mobility in this area, as well as:
- Facial swelling
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Difficulty opening or closing the mouth completely
How does a dentist diagnose a TMJ disorder?
When a dentist suspects you may be suffering from a TMJ disorder, they will take a detailed medical history and examine your mouth, teeth, jaw joint, muscles, and nerves. The team might also order imaging tests such as X-rays to get a better look at the area.
What are the treatment options for TMJ disorders?
Treatment for TMJ disorders can vary depending on the cause of the issue. Common treatments include:
- Oral appliances such as night guards or splints to reduce tension in the jaw muscles
- Physical therapy that strengthens the muscles around the joint
- Medications to help relieve pain and inflammation
- Orthodontic treatment to realign the bite and jaw
- Surgery is often recommended in more severe cases of TMJ disorders
How long will I deal with my TMJ disorder?
The time it takes to fully recover from a TMJ disorder will depend on the severity of the condition and the type of treatment you receive. In general, most people can expect to see some improvement in symptoms within a few weeks and more significant improvements over the course of several months. This depends greatly on compliance and the recommended treatment. For patients dealing with TMJ disorder as a more chronic condition, our Knoxville Smiles at Malone and Costa Dentistry team will do their best to help you manage your condition and reduce the discomfort that comes with it.
Schedule an appointment with a TMJ dentist “near me!”
If you live in or around Knoxville, TN, and are ready to learn about the diagnosis and process of treating TMJ disorders with Drs. Stephen Malone, Michael Costa, and Breanna Costa of Knoxville Smiles at Malone and Costa Dentistry, call (865) 426-1776.
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