If you’re experiencing clicking, popping, or pain when opening and closing your mouth, you might need TMJ treatment. Our highly-experienced dental team at Eagle Run West Dental Group provides TMJ treatment in Omaha.
Learn more about how we diagnose and treat TMJ disorder here.
What is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) Disorder?
TMJ disorder, also called TMD, occurs when the muscles and nerves surrounding the temporomandibular joint become inflamed, resulting in severe pain to the face, jaw, neck, and shoulders.
The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, connects the jawbone to the skull.
When it's being used, such as when you're chewing or just opening and closing your mouth, this joint moves in a sliding motion when in action, allowing you to move your mouth and jaw. The bones that interact throughout this motion are covered with cartilage, which absorbs small amounts of shock.
When the cartilage becomes eroded by arthritis or the joint is damaged by trauma, however, TMD can occur.
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
There isn’t a single cause that can be attributed to TMJ disorder, however, there are several factors that can trigger the condition, including:
- Misaligned bite
- Severe facial trauma
- Tooth loss
It’s not always clear what causes TMD, however, symptoms are likely to develop from issues with the jaw muscles or the temporomandibular joint itself. Certain factors, such as jaw injury, arthritis, and grinding or clenching of the teeth, may also increase your chance of developing TMD.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
TMJ is mainly known for causing severe jaw pain and discomfort, but you might also experience tightness in the jaw or feel your jaw lock up, which can cause popping or clicking sounds.
As the disorder progresses symptoms may also include:
- Chronic jaw and/or ear pain
- Extreme discomfort in the neck, face, and shoulders
- Severe headaches
- Difficulty chewing or opening and closing your mouth
- Swelling on both sides of the face
While you may be experiencing one, or more, of these symptoms, seek treatment as soon as possible to avoid serious complications. Our doctors in Omaha can diagnose your symptoms and prescribe the most effective treatment plan for you.
Types of TMJ Disorder
TMJ disorder can be split into three categories: muscle disorders, degenerative joint disorders, and internal derangement disorders. It’s possible to experience one or more of these disorders simultaneously.
Our experienced dentists at Eagle Run Dental West Group will work closely with you to determine which type of TMJ disorder you may have to ensure you receive proper treatment.
Muscle disorders are the most common type of TMJ disorder. This type of TMD occurs when pain and discomfort begin to emerge from the muscles surrounding the jaw. Muscle disorders are often the result of repeated clenching or grinding of the teeth.
Degenerative Joint Disorders
Overuse of the jaw, or aging, can cause degeneration of the TMJ. In some cases, early degeneration can be caused by a poorly aligned or dislocated bite. Most cases of degenerative joint disorder are due to rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or a perforated TMJ disc.
Internal Derangement Disorders
Internal derangement refers to a structural deformity of the jaw. This disorder is caused by displaced TMJ discs, severe facial trauma (broken or fractured jaw), or jaw dislocation. Other factors may include grinding or clenching of the teeth and overuse of the jaw.
How to Treat TMJ Disorder
Once TMJ disorder has been diagnosed, we’ll work with you to determine the best course of action.
In some cases, TMD can be treated with at-home practices, including:
- Ice packs
- Avoiding clenching or tensing the jaw
- Only eating soft foods
- Resting your jaw
A customized oral appliance, or nightguard, may also be recommended to minimize teeth grinding and reduce pressure on the jaw. Other treatment methods, such as physical therapy, injections for pain relief, and surgery can be used if the joint is damaged or if other measures have been unsuccessful.
With over 30 years of experience, our doctors, Robert C. Wilson and Sharlene A. Wilson, know how to work with patients in need of TMJ treatment to provide them with the best possible solution.
TMJ Treatment in Omaha
As part of our general dentistry services in Omaha, Eagle Run Dental West Group offers TMJ treatment for chronic jaw pain.
If you think you're suffering from TMJ disorder and could benefit from TMJ treatment, contact our office in Omaha, NE to schedule an appointment or call us at 402-498-8804. We’d be glad to answer any questions you may have.