Dealing with TMJ/TMD can be Difficult

Painful TMJ/TMD difficulties can affect nearly every aspect of your life. Our Fall River, MA, dentist jaw painDr. Suhair Shamoon of Dentistry With a Smile discusses the condition and explains how dental treatment can help.

What is TMJ/TMD?

Temporomandibular joint disorder may be referred to as either TMJ or TMD. Both terms describe the same condition. TMJ/TMD affects the temporomandibular joints in your jaw that work like hinges. If you place your hands just below your ears, you'll feel the joints move when you open and close your mouth. A problem with the alignment of the bones, ligaments and tendons in the joints is responsible for common TMJ/TMD symptoms. In some cases, it's impossible to determine the cause of the condition. In others, it's linked to injuries, arthritis, bite problems or nightly grinding or clenching.

What are the symptoms of TMJ/TMD?

TMJ/TMD causes a number of unpleasant symptoms, including:

  • Jaw pain and stiffness (Pain may increase when you chew, speak or yawn.)
  • Muscle tension and pain in your neck and upper back muscles
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Popping or clicking sounds when opening or closing your mouth
  • Jaw locking for a few seconds or longer when you open or close your mouth
  • Pain and pressure in your ears
  • Ringing or popping sensations in the ears
  • Difficulty chewing

How can my dentist help me?

After performing a complete examination in our Fall River office, we will recommend treatment options based on your symptoms and the cause of your condition. If TMJ/TMD is caused by a misaligned bite, orthodontic treatment offers an effective solution. As your braces gradually realign your teeth, your symptoms will improve.

Custom-made nightguards can reduce stress on your temporomandibular joint caused by grinding or clenching. The nightguards fit over your bottom teeth and absorb the brunt of the forces you generate when you grind your teeth. An oral splint may also be helpful. The splint repositions your jaw while you sleep, which can reduce stress and tension in your jaw muscles.

TMJ/TMD treatment can ease your pain. Call our Fall River, MA, dentist, Dr. Shamoon of Dentistry With a Smile, at (508) 672-6471 to schedule an appointment.