Dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, can lead to a number of problems, ranging from persistent pain to difficulty chewing. TMJ Disorder is very common, and there are several treatment options that can restore you to full health.
Dr. Joshua S. Brandner, DDS, MD is very passionate about his work and will take the time to explain what is needed to improve your quality of life. At The Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Center of South Louisiana, we want to make sure you walk out of our office feeling confident and comfortable.
The temporomandibular joint is like a sliding hinge, attaching the jawbone to the skull. You have one of these joints on each side of your jaw. When one or both of these joints become disordered, it can cause pain in the jaw itself and impair the function of the underlying muscle.
The good news is that, for most patients, TMJ Disorder is temporary and can be alleviated with non-surgical treatments. Surgical intervention may be a last resort in instances where these treatments fail, and TMJ Disorder continues.
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
The precise cause of TMJ Disorder can be difficult to determine, although many factors can play a part. For some patients, there seems to be a strong genetic component. TMJ Disorder may also develop as a side effect of other oral health conditions, such as bruxism (i.e. chronic tooth grinding). Patients who habitually clench their jaw are at heightened risk for TMJ Disorder, as are patients who have arthritis.
Much of the time, the onset of TMJ Disorder can be attributed to a combination of these factors. The important thing to keep in mind is that no matter the cause of your TMJ Disorder, the condition can always be effectively treated, alleviating your pain and discomfort.
What Are the Symptoms of TMJD?
Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Tenderness or pain of the jaw
- Pain that emanates from one or more of the jaw joints
- Aching, persistent pain in or around the ears
- Aching, persistent facial pain
- Difficulty chewing or pain while eating
- Locking of the jaw joint, leading to difficulty or strain when opening and closing the mouth
- A clicking or popping sound from the jaw
If you have experienced any of these symptoms, seeking a diagnosis and treatment may be beneficial.
How is TMJ Disorder Diagnosed?
Typically, a TMJ diagnosis begins with a physical evaluation. Dr. Brandner will observe your jaw as you open and close it and provide a full examination of your teeth alignment. You can also expect him to test your bite and look for signs of tooth grinding or jaw clenching.
If Dr. Brandner observes signs of TMJ Disorder, he will proceed with medical imaging, providing greater insight into any alignment issues with the teeth or jaws.
How is TMJ Disorder Treated?
There are many potential treatments for TMJ, most of which do not require surgical intervention. Your doctor may recommend any of the following approaches to TMJ care:
- Medications. Often, the first step is to use muscle relaxants, pain relievers, and anti-inflammatory medications to alleviate the symptoms of TMJ pain.
- Injectables. BOTOX® can sometimes be used to relax the underlying jaw muscles, alleviating the pain of TMJD.
- Oral appliances. Oral splints and mouth guards can often be used to correct issues related to tooth grinding or tooth alignment.
- Surgical intervention. When other, more conservative treatments do not work out, surgical interventions can correct anatomical issues with the jaw.
Dr. Brandner is passionate about patient education and is more than willing to spend time counseling you on your available treatment options.
Get Relief from TMJ Disorder
TMJ Disorder can lead to chronic pain, and for some patients, it can be almost debilitating. But the pain does not have to be permanent, as there are treatment options that can deliver lasting relief.
At The OMS Center of South Louisiana in Covington, LA, we are always happy to walk you through the options and help you make a confident decision about TMJ treatment.
To learn more about remedies for TMJD, contact our office and set up an appointment with Dr. Brandner at (985) 687-1616.