Braces come with many benefits for patients, but one disadvantage that a general dentist may point out is staining. Stains are not an unavoidable result of having braces on for long periods of time. However, braces can make it harder to thoroughly clean teeth on a regular basis, which can eventually lead to stains. Here…
Do Jaw Injuries Cause TMJ?
Dentists are often asked if TMJ disorder is caused by jaw injuries. Understanding the causes of TMJ and how a dentist can treat and help patients prevent TMJ is helpful. There are many potential reasons that someone may struggle with TMJ symptoms, and it is important to determine the cause to decide the best method of treatment.
Jaw injuries and TMJ disorder
Jaw injuries and TMJ disorder are often interconnected. While jaw injuries are not always the cause of TMJ, it can make the condition worse and harder to treat. The following is a review of the relationship between TMJ disorder and jaw injuries and whether a jaw injury can directly cause the condition.
What is TMJ disorder?
TMJ disorder refers to jaw discomfort caused by a dysfunction with the temporomandibular joint. This is the joint inside the jaw that connects the skull and the jaw, and it plays a vital role in the opening and closing of the mouth. TMJ disorder can result in a clicking sound in the jaw, chronic jaw pain, difficulty opening and closing the mouth and headaches, among other potential symptoms. If multiple symptoms exist for an extended period of time or become severe, then a trip to the dentist for diagnosis and treatment is encouraged.
Can a jaw injury cause TMJ disorder?
Determining the cause of TMJ disorder is not always easy to do. A jaw injury can certainly contribute to TMJ disorder, particularly if the trauma results in the temporomandibular joint not working the way it should. Jaw injury could be the result of nighttime teeth grinding, a blow to the jaw during physical activity or as a result of a nasty fall. However, it is rare for TMJ disorder to result from a single incident, and it most commonly occurs over time.
How can a dentist treat TMJ disorder?
There are several ways that a dentist can treat TMJ disorder. Before making a treatment recommendation, the dentist will examine the patient’s symptoms to try to get an idea of what the underlying cause might be. Based on the information, the dentist may recommend one of the following common treatments for TMJ:
- Pain-relief medication
- Antidepressant medication
- Bite guard for teeth grinding
- Lifestyle and dietary changes
- Jaw surgery for TMJ
For jaw injuries, the dentist will also treat the injury, as well as any issues with the teeth and gums that may exist. Dentists will also help the patient with a prevention plan to avoid future instances of TMJ symptoms. The prevention plan may include wearing a nightguard to prevent bruxism, reducing activities that may put pressure on the jaw and reducing stress.
A dentist can help with TMJ treatment
Our dental team can assess your symptoms, conduct an oral examination and more to determine the cause of your TMJ symptoms and make a treatment recommendation. Get in touch with us by phone or email today if you would like to set up a visit to discuss your TMJ symptoms.
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