About 12% of American adults experience chronic jaw pain and restricted motion from a condition known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Your TMJ is the joint that supports your jaw, and it gives you the ability to move your jaw up and down and side to side.
You rely on your TMJ to talk and chew every day. But TMJ disorders are common, and there are many possible causes.
Instead of enduring chronic jaw pain from a TMJ disorder, find a personalized treatment plan to relieve your discomfort and improve your quality of life. Walied Touni, DDS, MSD, and our team at Touni Orthodontics in Sunnyvale, California, specialize in comprehensive TMJ treatment.
Signs of a TMJ disorder
Anyone can develop a TMJ disorder. Some common causes include teeth clenching or grinding, arthritis, and physical injury. Your gender may also increase your risk, as women are more likely to have TMJ disorders than men.
The most obvious symptoms of a TMJ disorder are jaw pain, stiffness, and restricted motion. Other symptoms can include:
- Audible pops or clicks in your jaw
- Difficulty or pain with chewing
- Jaw tenderness
- Locking jaw
- Pain around your ear
For some people with TMJ pain, their symptoms go away on their own with rest. But for others, TMJ pain doesn’t disappear. The good news is that Dr. Touni and our team specialize in treatment for TMJ disorders to relieve pain and restore joint mobility.
Treatment options for TMJ disorders
Dr. Touni typically diagnoses TMJ disorders with a comprehensive physical exam. He looks at and feels your jaw, and he may order medical imaging to confirm your diagnosis. If he identifies a TMJ disorder, you have a variety of treatment options to choose from.
TMJ pain is often triggered by inflammation in the joint. One of the first treatment options that Dr. Touni may recommend is anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling and discomfort in your jaw.
Oral over-the-counter pain relievers are often effective for mild TMJ pain. However, prescription pain medication or corticosteroid injections are also available for more persistent pain.
TMJ disorders that are caused by jaw clenching, teeth grinding, and other habits may improve with behavioral therapy. Counseling helps you identify stressors in your life and gives you the tools to cope and manage it more effectively.
Wearing a mouth guard, or occlusal appliance, is one of the most effective treatments for TMJ disorders. You might only need to wear it while you sleep, but it can take stress off your jaw and even protect your teeth from damage if you clench or grind them subconsciously.
Physical therapy includes exercises and stretches to strengthen the muscles around your jaw. This treatment can help relieve tension and pain in your jaw, and it’s particularly effective when coupled with a combination of other therapies.
TMJ disorders are painful, but treatment can make a difference. To get a TMJ treatment plan that’s right for you, call our office or request an appointment online today.