November marks TMJ Awareness Month. During this month, awareness is raised for the many conditions that cause pain in the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint between your lower jaw and the rest of your skull. 

Pain in the jaw when chewing or painful clicks are signs of an underlying TMJ disorder. Learn more about the signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders from your McAllen dentists at Heroes Dental. 

About TMJ Disorder

Your temporomandibular joint is the sliding hinge that keeps your jaw from hitting the bones of your skull. Like other joints in your body, it has cartilage to allow the joint to move smoothly. There is also a soft disk to help cushion the joint.

TMJ disorder is any problem that causes pain in your jaw. You may feel painful clicking in your jaw, be unable to open your mouth fully, or feel generalized pain in the area. 

Because some pain in the jaw can be caused by dental issues like abscesses or tooth decay, it is worth seeing your McAllen dentist to determine the exact cause. 

Causes of TMJ Disorders

TMJ disorders can be caused by a wide range of issues. 

An injury that misaligns the jaw can result in a TMJ disorder, while grinding your teeth or constantly clenching your jaw can affect the joint. 

Any issues with the cartilage in your TMJ can also cause jaw pain. Arthritis is an inflammation of the cartilage in your body that will cause degradation in the joint and pain. 

Any conditions that degrade your bones can also cause TMJ disorders.

Treatment Options

There are a number of treatment options for TMJ disorders. What treatment will be used for your situation will depend on the underlying cause. Physical therapy is used if the issue is from stiff muscles or jaw grinding. You may also be given a mouth guard or oral splint to help ease the pain.  

Medications can help with pain and inflammation. Over-the-counter medications are typically advised, but you may be prescribed a higher dosage. Muscle relaxants and steroid injections can also help relieve pain. 

Surgery is a last resort if other treatments don’t work. Most are minimally invasive, so recovery time isn’t very long. This can be as simple as flushing the joint or using an arthroscope to work directly on the joint without needing to open it up. 

You may also be treated by surgery on the mandible or directly on the joint, but these surgeries require larger incisions and have more risks. Your doctor or McAllen dentist will be able to discuss the right treatment for your case.

Heroes Dental Can Help Your Jaw Pain

If you’ve been experiencing jaw pain, an appointment with a McAllen dentist should be your first stop. Heroes Dental can rule out tooth issues and see what may be behind your pain. 

We know the right options to get you the care you need. Don’t suffer needlessly; get checked out today.

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