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TMJ Treatment

Your mouth has many important jobs. To perform these jobs, it relies on many different working parts. One of these crucial components is the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. The TMJ is the point at which your mandible meets your skull. It is responsible for the movement of your jaw—opening and closing, chewing, speaking, yawning, moving your jaw side to side. When the TMJ is irritated and inflamed, it can severely impact your quality of life, making just about any movement painful. At Prosthodontic Dental Group, we can provide you with TMJ treatment to restore the health and comfort of your mouth.

TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder is a term that covers a variety of different issues that affect both your temporomandibular joint as well as your jaw. Many of these issues lead to irritation and inflammation of the joint, both of which can lead to pain. When the pain is severe, it can affect your oral health as well as your overall health. There are several symptoms that can point to TMJ disorder, including:
•  Jaw and facial pain.
•  Pain and difficulty when you are chewing.
•  Difficulty speaking.
•  You may find it difficult, and painful, to open and close your mouth.
•  Your jaw locks open or closed. When this happens, you may be temporarily unable to move your mouth at all.
•  Clicking, popping, or grinding sounds and sensations when you move your mouth.
•  Chronic headaches or earaches.

What causes issues with the TMJ?

TMJ disorder is not caused by one thing. In fact, it is caused by some different issues. This can often make pinpointing the cause of your discomfort difficult. Common causes of TMJ disorder include:
•  Misalignment of your teeth and jaw.
•  Facial trauma. Facial trauma can result from several different things. You may suffer direct impact to the jaw, such as through a car accident, a fall, or impact while playing sports.
•  Whiplash. In some cases, a car accident can cause whiplash, during which your jaw becomes temporarily dislocated.
•  Bruxism, or the clenching and grinding of your teeth. The excess force placed upon your jaw and TMJ can tire out the muscles and the joint. Bruxism is often the result of stress.
•  Osteoarthritis (the cartilage at the joint deteriorates) or rheumatoid arthritis (chronic inflammation of the joints).

How is TMJ disorder diagnosed?

Model of a skull and TMJ at dentist's office in Sacramento, CA.To provide you with appropriate, effective treatment, the cause of your TMJ problems must be diagnosed. To diagnose the cause, a complete exam of your mouth must be done. This exam includes both a visual exam of your teeth and jaw, as well as x-ray imaging. X-rays allow us to see everything happening below the gum line, including the condition of the bone and the joint. Once we can diagnose the cause, we can then formulate the best course of action.

Treating TMJ Disorder

There are several treatments for TMJ disorder, and the treatment (or treatments) we select for you will depend upon your specific treatment:
•  Prescription pain medication. For some patients, a prescription pain reliever is all that is needed to ease the discomfort.
•  A night guard. Patients with bruxism often clench and grind at night. A night guard is a specially designed mouth guard that provides a cushion against the forces exerted on your jaw.
•  Botox. Botox is more well-known for its cosmetic uses, but it can also be an effective tool for treating TMJ disorder. Botox relaxes the muscles around the mouth, preventing bruxism.
•  Orthodontic treatment. Misalignment of the teeth and jaws can often be solved with orthodontic treatments such as braces.
•  Oral surgery. When no other treatments have proven effective, oral surgery may be recommended. It is usually reserved as a last effort.

Treating TMJ disorder can greatly improve your comfort and your quality of life. For more information, and to schedule your consultation, contact Prosthodontic Dental Group today.
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Yuba City, CA 95991

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