The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts as a hinge between the jaw and skull, allowing for flexibility and movement. When this joint and surrounding muscles become injured or inflamed, patients often experience discomfort, swelling, and difficulty chewing. Dr. Joseph D. Murray can provide effective TMJ treatment at his Atlanta, GA, practice, tailored to your unique needs. This may include wearing a custom night guard to protect your teeth from clenching and grinding, implementing lifestyle changes, as well as taking medications to relax the jaw. If TMJ disorder remains unaddressed, it can result in more serious oral health issues, including severe dental misalignment, decay, and damage.
What is the Temporomandibular Joint?
The temporomandibular joint is located in front of each ear at the base of the skull. It acts as a hinge, connecting your upper and lower jaw. This joint works with surrounding muscles and ligaments to aid in the opening and closing of your mouth. It also enables your jaw to move side to side and forwards and backwards. These joints are responsible for basic daily tasks, such as eating, chewing, yawning, laughing, singing, and speaking.
When identified early, TMJ disorder can usually be addressed with conservative treatment methods.
In the case of TMJ disorder, the joints can become difficult to move. This condition can result when the joints sustain damage due to injury, arthritis, or erosion. When identified early, TMJ disorder can usually be addressed with conservative treatment methods.
When the TMJ joints become inflamed or irritated, you can experience:
- Dull or sharp jaw pain, particularly when eating and chewing
- Facial pain and swelling
- Ear pain
- Radiating pain and a tingling sensation in the neck, shoulders, back, and extremities
- Headaches or migraines
- Tooth pain, especially the molars in the back of the mouth
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Locked jaw
- Clicking, grinding, or popping sound when opening and closing your mouth
- Teeth grinding and jaw clenching (bruxism)
During your visit, Dr. Murray can perform a comprehensive examination to determine the root of your symptoms and provide effective treatment.
If you are experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder, it is important to schedule a consultation with Dr. Murray to prevent further complications. At this time, we can take a series of x-rays to determine the severity of TMJ disorder and identify whether any tooth damage has occurred. In such cases, we may recommend dental crowns to protect your back molars and preserve your smile.
Based on your unique symptoms, Dr. Murray can formulate a treatment plan that may feature:
- This can include taking muscle relaxants, over-the-counter NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), prescription pain relievers, anti-anxieties, or anti-inflammatories. In conjunction, we may also recommend rotating cold and hot compresses to minimize swelling and muscle spasms.
- Night Guard:
- This customized oral device will fit over your top and bottom teeth to prevent teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Your night guard can also serve as a splint, helping the jaw relax and alleviating pressure on the TMJ.
- Lifestyle Adjustments:
- Certain lifestyle adjustments can also aid in your recovery. This may include following a soft foods diet for a short period of time, not chewing gum, and integrating relaxation techniques such as meditation to reduce daily stress.
If symptoms do not abate, Dr. Murray may recommend you visit an oral surgeon to discuss alternative treatment options.
Contact Us Today
To learn more about the TMJ treatment methods we provide, contact our office today or by call us at (404) 762-5770. Our team at J.D. Murray DDS & Associates is dedicated to helping patients achieve optimal oral health and a beautiful smile. We can tailor your treatment plan to address your needs, goals, and lifestyle.