TMJ, the common term for temporomandibular joint disorder, is a condition affecting the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull. Patients with this condition experience a variety of symptoms, including pain in early stages and immobility later on. Thanks to research into TMJ, the condition is now fairly well understood and can be resolved reliably in many cases. Here are the symptoms and causes of this condition and how it may be treated by Dr. Assili, our Northridge TMJ treatment expert.
When TMJ starts to develop, patients commonly experience pain in and around the jaw joints. Audible clicking may also occur in these joints, especially when patients speak and chew. Over time, localized pain can spread to the head, face, and neck. Patients may also experience the inability to open or close their mouth as the joints essentially lock in place.
TMJ Treatment Northridge
A variety of issues can be to blame for TMJ. These issues include arthritis, which affects joints throughout the body, as well as injury and dislocation of the jaw joints. Patients whose teeth or jaws are misaligned are also more prone to the condition. Teeth grinding, a condition that can be diagnosed by our expert in TMJ treatment in Northridge based on tooth wear, also frequently causes jaw joint strain leading to TMJ.
How TMJ is treated depends on its cause. For example, patients whose TMJ resulted from teeth grinding may benefit from wearing oral appliances at night to protect the teeth and jaws. Anti-anxiety medications may also address this form of TMJ. Many TMJ sufferers benefit from avoiding very hard or chewy foods and using jaw-strengthening exercises. For advanced cases, our Northridge TMJ treatment expert may recommend localized anti-inflammatory treatment or surgery.
TMJ can affect quality of life drastically, preventing patients from speaking and eating as they normally would. While the condition sometimes disappears eventually, patients often benefit from visiting our expert in TMJ treatment in Northridge to have the condition assessed. In addition to ruling out causes of the condition, our Northridge dentist can determine the best course of treatment to eliminate discomfort and restore quality of life.