Why You Shouldn't Put Off Treatment for TMJ

The temporomandibular joint connects your lower jawbone to your skull. This joint acts like a sliding hinge that allows you to open and close your mouth. When the joint or the muscles connected to the joint are damaged or compromised, actions that require that open-and-close movement, such as speaking, yawning, and eating, can be difficult and painful.

At Ellem Dental in Richardson, Texas, Lily Morgan, DDS, is highly skilled at diagnosing and treating this potentially debilitating condition. If you’re experiencing any jaw popping or jaw pain, call Ellem Dental or make an appointment online. The sooner you diagnose and treat TMJ, the sooner you’ll be pain-free.

What causes TMJ?

Temporomandibular joint disorder, often called TMJ or TMD, is fairly common, affecting up to 10 million people in the United States. The exact cause of TMJ is not known, but certain factors contribute to your likelihood of developing it, including:

Placing your jaw in a certain position for prolonged periods of time, such as resting a phone between your shoulder and ear, as well as regular gum chewing, may also increase your risk for TMJ.

More women than men get TMJ, so researchers are also looking into the effects estrogen may play in developing the disorder.

TMJ symptoms

In many cases, the symptoms of TMJ are minor and temporary, and they only require simple jaw stretches and over-the-counter pain relievers. For some, however, the effects of TMJ are long-lasting and widespread. Common symptoms include:

Potential complications of TMJ

While most cases are mild, severe cases of TMJ or cases that are left untreated can impact your quality of life. Because TMJ can disappear only to recur again and again, it’s important to understand what causes your TMJ, whether that’s stress, teeth grinding, or another underlying condition.

More severe symptoms that can develop from untreated TMJ include:

Chronic pain, whether from TMJ or another source, can lead to sleeplessness, anxiety, irritability, and an inability to concentrate.

Treatment for TMJ

At Ellem Dental, we work with you to discover the root cause of your TMJ and develop a personalized treatment plan to help relieve your symptoms. We begin with conservative treatments, which include over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories as well as physical therapy exercises to help stretch and mobilize your jaw. Changing your diet to soft foods can help as well.

If your TMJ pain or issues persist, other treatment options include:

If you’re experiencing TMJ pain, difficulty speaking or chewing, or stiffness in your jaw, don’t wait to seek treatment. Call Ellem Dental or book an appointment online before your symptoms get any worse.

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