Tempromandibular joint disorders (TMJ)

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) affect about 10 million Americans yearly and can be painful and debilitating if left untreated. TMJ disorders can have a significant impact on the quality of your day-to-day life, causing problems with your jaw function. Dr. Gill offers TMJ treatment in Fresno, California, to help you improve your quality of life and once again chew, speak and yawn without pain or discomfort.

The TMJ is the temporomandibular joint, or the joint that connects the lower jaw to the rest of the head. The term “TMJ” is often used to refer to TMJ disorder, also called TMD, which occurs when the jaw joint becomes stressed, injured or misaligned. TMJ disorder may result due to several different factors, such as stress, bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching), arthritis in the TMJ, or trauma and injury to the head, neck or jaw.

Symptoms of TMJ disorders

The following signs or symptoms can indicate TMJ:

  • Popping or clicking sounds in your jaw
  • Congestion or clogged ears
  • Chronic headaches
  • Jaw joint locking
  • Jaw pain or tenderness
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Pain with chewing
  • Aching facial pain
  • Pain in the neck, shoulders or ears
  • Frequent headaches

There are several causes of TMJ with many theories yet to be proven. Some claim that posture can be responsible for TMJ as can poor diet, a lack of sleep, and the cartilage disk found at the joint itself. As a TMJ dentist, we find that one of the most common causes of TMJ is clenching or grinding teeth at night. During times of high-stress, many people fail to have a restful nights sleep and take out their frustration by inadvertently clenching their jaw closed or grinding down their teeth while sleeping. This can manifest very early in life, with children even being impacted by teeth grinding. When this takes place, the muscles and joints are forced to remain in a tense position, leading to pain in the joints and muscles the following morning. If this happens only occasionally, you may have a minor headache and feel better the next day. If, however, this is occurring on a nightly basis, TMJ symptoms can begin to manifest and you will begin to feel less and less comfortable. You may want to pay particular attention to whether or not you have a headache or jaw pain after having a stressful day at work or being upset about something.

Dr Gill can help you determine the cause of your TMJ disorder and recommend the appropriate treatment. Mangaement of the TMJ will depend on the cause and severity of your TMJ disorder. TMJ mangagement may include jaw and facial relaxation exercises, lifestyle changes, restorative dental treatments, a mouth guard or night guard, or jaw surgery.

Schedule an appointment by calling our office or booking a consultation online.