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What is TMJ?

TMJ is the acronym used to describe your temporomandibular joint, which connects your lower jaw to your skull. It is one of the most complex joints in your body, and is responsible for many important functions such as chewing, talking, and yawning.

TMJ is often used incorrectly to refer to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), the condition that occurs when your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) becomes misaligned. TMD, also referred to as TMJ disorder, is a common condition affecting many Americans and can result in serious, debilitating pain.

What are the symptoms of TMJ disorder?

Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Facial pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Clicking and popping sounds in the jaw
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Uneven bite
  • Limited range of motion or locking of the jaw

If you suffer from one or more of these symptoms, Columbus neuromuscular dentist Dr. Michael Firouzian can perform a thorough evaluation to determine whether TMJ disorder is causing your problem.

What causes TMJ disorder?

The exact cause of TMJ disorder is not entirely clear, but in many cases the condition develops as a result of an injury to the jaw, often caused by a sharp blow to the head. Other potential causes of TMJ disorder include:

What causes TMJ disorder?

  • Grinding your teeth
  • Dislocation of the disc separating the ball and socket of your TMJ
  • Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in your TMJ
  • Stress, which may cause you to habitually clench your teeth

What are the treatment options available for TMJ disorder?

TMJ treatment involves two phases. The first phase seeks to alleviate the pain and symptoms you are experiencing. Dr. Firouzian can accomplish this using TENS therapy, which applies low level electrical nerve stimulation to relax your jaw and return it to its ideal resting position. Other treatments commonly used to alleviate TMJ symptoms include:

  • Altering your diet to include softer foods
  • Jaw exercises
  • Hot and cold packs
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs such as ibuprofen

The second phase of your TMJ treatment will provide you with a long term solution to your jaw alignment issues. The second phase will never begin unless the first phase is identified to be stabilizing the condition. Once stabilization is underway, permanent stabilization if the goal with phase II. This may include:

Who should I turn to for treatment of TMJ symptoms?

An experienced neuromuscular dentist is the ideal person to treat any symptoms related to TMJ disorder. Neuromuscular dentistry is a specialty that focuses on how the muscles, nerves, and joints of your jaw work together in your bite. A neuromuscular dentist will work to achieve a harmonious relationship between the muscles, joints, and nerves so that your bite returns to its ideal resting position, enabling it to function properly.leading dentists badge

Contact the Center for Family and Cosmetic Dentistry today to schedule your initial consultation. Dr. Michael Firouzian serves patients in Columbus, Dublin, and New Albany, Ohio.