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2110 S 17th St


600 Beaman St
Clinton, NC 28328

116 N Norwood St
Wallace, NC 28466

TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Disorder

TMJ disorder refers to conditions affecting the temporomandibular joint, which connects your jawbone to your skull. It is a complex joint that allows for movements required for chewing, talking, and yawning. TMJ disorders can cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement.

Common Causes of TMJ Disorder:

  1. Bruxism: Teeth grinding or clenching, especially during sleep, which can put pressure on the TMJ.

  2. Jaw Injury: Trauma to the jaw joint or muscles, such as from a blow or impact.

  3. Arthritis: Degenerative joint disease affecting the TMJ, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

  4. Poor Jaw Alignment: Misalignment of the teeth or jaw, which can affect how the TMJ functions.

  5. Stress: Increased muscle tension in the jaw and face due to stress or anxiety, leading to TMJ symptoms.

  6. Chewing Gum: Excessive chewing of gum or biting hard objects, which can strain the TMJ.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder:

  • Jaw Pain: Pain or tenderness in the jaw joint area, face, temples, or ears.

  • Limited Jaw Movement: Difficulty opening or closing the mouth fully.

  • Clicking or Popping Sounds: Audible noises when moving the jaw, often accompanied by sensations of grinding or grating.

  • Locking of the Jaw: Inability to open or close the mouth temporarily.

  • Muscle Stiffness: Stiffness or soreness in the jaw muscles, neck, shoulders, or temples.

  • Headaches: Tension headaches or migraines, often associated with TMJ dysfunction.

Common Injuries Associated with TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder itself is not an injury but can lead to complications or associated conditions that may require medical attention:

  1. Chronic Pain: Persistent pain and discomfort in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles.

  2. Dental Issues: Teeth grinding (bruxism) associated with TMJ disorder can lead to tooth wear, fractures, or dental problems.

  3. Muscle Spasms: Painful muscle spasms in the jaw, face, or neck due to TMJ dysfunction.

  4. Sleep Problems: TMJ symptoms such as pain or discomfort may interfere with sleep quality.

  5. Psychological Impact: Chronic TMJ pain can contribute to anxiety, depression, or stress-related disorders.

Prevention and Management

  • Behavioral Changes: Avoiding habits that strain the jaw joint, such as teeth grinding or clenching.

  • Stress Management: Techniques such as relaxation exercises, counseling, or biofeedback to reduce stress and muscle tension.

  • Dietary Adjustments: Eating soft foods, avoiding chewy or hard foods that strain the jaw.

  • Physical Therapy: Exercises to stretch and strengthen jaw muscles, improve jaw alignment, and reduce symptoms.

  • Medications: Pain relievers, muscle relaxants, or anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate pain and inflammation.

  • Oral Appliances: Customized mouthguards or splints to stabilize the jaw and reduce teeth grinding or clenching.

  • Heat or Ice Packs: Application of heat or ice packs to the jaw joint to reduce pain and inflammation.

  • Surgery: In rare cases where conservative treatments fail, surgical procedures such as arthroscopy or joint replacement may be considered.

Effective management of TMJ disorder involves identifying triggers, addressing underlying causes, and implementing appropriate treatment strategies to alleviate symptoms and improve jaw function. Consultation with a dentist, oral surgeon, or TMJ specialist can help determine the best approach for managing TMJ disorder based on individual symptoms and severity.

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