What is TMJ?

TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint, which hinges your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull. This joint facilitates movement of your jaw up and down and side to side, aiding in activities as simple as chewing and talking.

TMJ actually describes the joint, but many people refer to problems with the joint using the same abbreviation. TMD is the clinical term for temporomandibular joint disorders, which involve pain, stiffness, or dysfunction in the joint.

What are the symptoms of TMD, or TMJ, issues?

Temporomandibular problems often arise as pain in the jaw joint. Other symptoms include:

  • Clicking sounds or popping when you move the jaw
  • Headaches
  • Stiff or sore jaw muscles
  • Temple or ear pain
  • Locked jaw

What causes TMJ issues?

Damage to the jaw, such as an accident that happened to your face, is a possible cause. Other possible reasons you have TMJ issues include:

  • Misaligned teeth or jawbones
  • Teeth grinding or clenching
  • Stress
  • Chronic gum chewing
  • Arthritis

How are TMJ disorders treated?

Dr. Marino often recommends conservative treatments first, such as sticking to soft foods, application of heat/ice packs, and over-the-counter medications. If these don’t show progress in resolving your symptoms after a few weeks, you may be a candidate for dental intervention. These treatments include physical therapy exercises to strengthen your jaw and prescription pain medications or muscle relaxers.

Dr. Marino may recommend a customized dental splint that fits over your teeth to prevent grinding or clenching. This way, your joint and the muscles around it can rest so you heal. Splints are sometimes prescribed for nighttime wear, or daytime and nighttime wear, depending on your circumstances.

In some cases, Dr. Marino may suggest you undergo dental treatments to fix an uneven bite if that’s the root cause of your pain. Orthodontic treatments are another option if the suspected cause of your TMJ issues has to do with the alignment of your teeth.

When you have issues in your jaw when chewing, eating, or opening your mouth to yawn, trust the expertise of Dr. Marino. Call his office or book online so he can help you address these TMJ issues.