Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) can lock your jaw or cause aching on the side of your face near your ear. Fortunately, the condition is manageable. The experts at Constant and Contro Orthodontics provide exceptional TMJ care for severe or recurring cases in Cupertino and Palo Alto, California. For more information about TMJ treatments, call the nearest office or schedule a visit online today.

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What is TMJ?

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is a condition characterized by joint pain and dysfunction originating in the hinge joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull.

You have one of these joints on either side of your head, and you can experience symptoms in one or both of them at a time.

Your temporomandibular joints are responsible for opening and closing your mouth. You use them to bite, chew, speak, and yawn. When something goes wrong in a temporomandibular joint, it can restrict the movement of your entire jaw and cause issues with these functions.

What are the symptoms of TMJ?

Symptoms of TMJ vary in severity and how they affect your everyday life. You should schedule an appointment at Constant and Contro Orthodontics if you frequently experience:

  • Jaw pain
  • Jaw locking
  • Clicking or popping sounds when you move your jaw
  • A grating sensation when you open and close your mouth
  • Headaches
  • Ear pain

Fortunately, most are mild and go away eventually without treatment. However, chronic or recurrent TMJ symptoms are treatable with professional orthodontic care.

What causes TMJ?

There are many reasons you might experience the pain and dysfunction that comes with TMJ. Various behaviors, underlying health issues, and past injuries can all affect the function of the joint and lead to inflammation.

Some of the most common causes and contributing factors to TMJ include:

  • Arthritis
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Jaw injuries from impact
  • Disc erosion

Your orthodontist at Constant and Contro Orthodontics considers all of these possibilities while making a diagnosis and planning your treatment. However, sometimes TMJ problems arise without any diagnosable cause.

What are my treatment options for TMJ?

Home care strategies often work well for TMJ, like temporarily resting your jaw by eating softer foods or taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

You can also relieve inflammation by applying an ice pack or moist heat, and performing stretches and jaw exercises can offer some relief, too.

Serious cases of TMJ may benefit from professional dental or orthodontic treatment. For long-term TMJ relief, your provider at Constant and Contro Orthodontics may recommend:

  • A night guard for bruxism
  • Orthodontic treatments like braces or Invisalign® for malocclusion
  • Cortisone joint injections
  • Splinting
  • Jaw surgery

Jaw surgery is rarely necessary for TMJ, but it is an option if nonsurgical treatments don’t provide relief of symptoms.

To schedule an orthodontic consultation for your TMJ pain and dysfunction, call Constant and Control Orthodontics or book a visit online today.