What is TMJ Disorder?
The temporomandibular joint, also known as TMJ, is located in front of the ear, connecting each side of the skull to the lower jaw. It supports the motion of opening and closing the mouth and moving the jaw from side to side. Without proper joint health and function, you wouldn’t have the ability to chew or speak with ease.
If you experience tenderness in the jaw or frequent head and/or neck aches, it could be that you’re suffering from a temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD. Dr. Bobbitt can help you learn how to recognize common TMD symptoms and how our Nashua dental team can help relieve your pain.
Causes and Symptoms of TMD
There are a number of factors that may cause TMJ disorders, ranging from bruxism (habitual or nighttime clenching and/or grinding of the teeth), misaligned bite relationships (“crooked teeth”), and trauma to certain types of arthritis in the TMJ. During your consultation, Dr. Bobbitt will examine your TMJ for irregularities and assess your joint health as an important part of our patient-centered, comprehensive approach to dental care.
TMJ disorders can cause intermittent pain and stiffness in your jaw, as well as other symptoms including:
- Clicking or popping sounds when moving the jaw
- Lockjaw, also known as tetanus
- Facial swelling and pain
- Headaches, toothaches, or earaches
- Neck pain
Additional common symptoms, like stress, anxiety, depression, and other sleep-related disorders can contribute to excessive nighttime clenching and grinding that can aggravate TMJ-related symptoms to worsen over time. Of these factors, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is an important contributing factor to TMJ disorders and is strongly associated with the condition.
Jaw Relief With TMJ Treatment
Here at Scott F. Bobbitt, DMD, we are committed to achieving excellent functioning and pain-free motion within your jaw joints. Dr. Bobbitt and our Nashua dental team will go the extra mile to find the most effective treatment for your condition.
Our practice proudly offers custom-made oral appliances (splints) to promote healthy jaw function and flexibility, keeping your individual comfort in mind. These appliances are worn overnight to prevent teeth grinding or clenching while sleeping, which reduces pressure on the jaw, teeth, and neighboring structures.
Depending on the severity, or the specific cause of your TMD, Dr. Bobbitt may recommend a more complex form of treatment, like orthodontics, dental restorations, or minor procedures inside the joint. During your consultation, he’ll assess your TMJ and help you determine the best course of action based on your individual needs.