TMJ

About 10 million Americans are suffering from a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Left unmanaged, TMJ can negatively impact your quality of life, causing jaw pain, headaches, and even damage to your teeth. At Advanced Orthodontics in Canton, Michigan, expert orthodontist Ritu Singh, DMD, MS, regularly works with men and women suffering from TMJ. To request your TMJ consultation at Advanced Orthodontics, call the office or use the online booking tool today. 

What is TMJ?

Temporomandibular joint disorders, or TMJ, cause pain in your jaw joint and the muscles that promote jaw movement. You have two temporomandibular joints––one on either side of your mouth, directly under your ear––each joint acts like a sliding hinge, helping you chew, speak, and bite. 

Experts aren’t entirely sure what causes TMJ, but it’s thought to result from a combination of factors, including genetics, previous jaw injuries, or medical conditions like arthritis. Some people also develop TMJ as a result of grinding their teeth or clenching their jaw.

No matter the underlying cause, if you regularly experience jaw pain or headaches, request an appointment with Dr. Singh at Advanced Orthodontics today. 

What are the symptoms of TMJ?

The symptoms of TMJ vary from person to person and depend on the severity of the condition. However, telltale signs, include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Jaw tenderness
  • Aching pain in or around the ears
  • Facial pain
  • Difficulty chewing

As the issue gets worse, you might also notice your jaw making a clicking or popping noise when you chew, speak, or yawn. 

How is TMJ diagnosed?

To diagnose TMJ, Dr. Singh asks you a series of questions about your symptoms and physically examines your jaw. During this exam, Dr. Singh observes your jaw’s range of motion and presses on areas around your jaw to identify areas of discomfort. She also listens to you open and close your mouth to see if she can hear any click, cracks, or pops.  

If Dr. Singh suspects you have TMJ, she might also order a series of X-rays to get a closer look at your tooth roots and jaw, or a computed tomography (CT) scan to see detailed images of your bones and joints. 

How is TMJ treated?

Mild cases of TMJ usually respond to conservative measures of care such as rest, ice, and stress management. However, if your symptoms persist or get worse, Dr. Singh might recommend taking an over-the-counter painkiller like ibuprofen or wearing a nightguard. 

A night guard is a custom oral appliance that promotes proper jaw alignment. You wear it overnight while you sleep. In addition to aligning your jaw, a nightguard also eases inflammation and prevents you from grinding or damaging your teeth. 

Don’t let TMJ negatively affect your quality of life. To request a TMJ appointment at Advanced Orthodontics, call the office or use the online booking tool today. 

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