Get in the Know When It Comes to TMJ

TMJ disorders can be painful, scary, or annoying. They can also be all three at the same time. Get the information you need to be able to identify whether you have a TMJ disorder. Mark W. Wilhelm, DMD, MSD in Woodbury, MN can help you ease the symptoms and give your TMJ a chance to get better.


What Is TMJ?


When you hear people talk about TMJ, they are talking about TMJ disorders, or TMD. TMJ is actually an acronym for the temporomandibular joint. This is the joint that attaches your jaw to the rest of your skull, and it has a dramatic impact on how your mouth and face feels. Your TMJ has a very wide range of influence. This joint stretches all the way into your temple region and is used more often each day than you may realize.


What Causes TMJ Disorder?


This is the big mystery in the world of dentistry. We don’t know definitively what causes TMJ disorders. We do know what contributes to developing a TMJ disorder, though. Here are some factors that have been found to be linked to TMJ disorders.


Injury – Getting hit in the jaw or any other type of impact to the area can trigger a TMJ disorder. You will want to seek medical attention if you get hit there and begin to feel pain or other symptoms coming from the joint. Putting ice near the joint can help calm any inflammation.


Grinding Your Teeth – This puts an amazing amount of stress on the joint itself. Your TMJ is built to do a lot of heavy lifting throughout the day, but teeth grinding puts huge, constant stress on the joint. This will lead to fatigue in the muscles that control the joint, and fatigued muscles are more susceptible to injury. You may also injure your teeth when you chronically grind them. Your tooth enamel is as hard as concrete, but even concrete will break after a while. Save the look and function of your teeth, and the pain of a TMJ disorder, by not grinding your teeth together.


Arthritis – This ailment is able to affect any joint in the body, including your TMJ. Developing arthritis in the joint is painful enough, but adding a TMJ disorder to it is terrible.


Stress – Stress causes tension in muscles, and your TMJ is controlled by muscles. High levels of stress have been found in many cases to lead to developing a TMJ disorder.


What Are TMJ Symptoms?


Here is the double whammy. We don’t know what exactly causes this type of disorder, and some of the symptoms can be mistaken for other ailments. This leads to wasted time at the office, and misdiagnoses by medical professionals who are trying to treat what they think is causing your pain. Dr. Wilhelm knows how sneaky these disorders can be. He will take the time to find out if your symptoms are attributed to TMJ disorder. Here are some common symptoms of TMD.


  • Pain – Pain is an obvious warning that something may be wrong with your TMJ. If you are having pain emanate from the joint, get in to see Dr. Wilhelm as soon as you can.


  • Swelling – Your TMJ disorder may manifest itself with swelling in the joint area as well. This is not the most alarming symptom unless the swelling is really noticeable. Please take note of swelling in the TMJ. The faster you get treatment, the less pain you will have to endure.


  • Toothache – Here is one that is often confused with something else. A toothache is normally caused by a problem with a tooth. In this case, your pain is a result of a problem in the TMJ even though it seems like it’s coming from a tooth instead. Make sure you are going to someone you can trust to offer a thorough diagnosis. Dr. Wilhelm will be sure to go over your situation and get to the heart of your issue.


  • Migraine or Headache – Your TMJ and related muscles extend all the way into the temple region of your head. This means any issue with the joint can travel that far. Migraines and headaches may be a result of this. If you have never had a migraine, consider yourself lucky. Migraines can be debilitating.


  • Clicking in the Jaw – This is an annoying symptom, but it can be a signal to get treatment before your TMJ disorder gets worse and causes pain.


  • Lockjaw – Your jaw can lock in either the open or closed position. The first time this happens, it is terrifying and should be a clear sign that you need to get into the office as soon as you can.


How Does Dr. Wilhelm Treat TMJ?


Through continuing education courses and staying up to date on the latest research in TMJ disorder treatment, Dr. Wilhelm can help you get past your issues as quickly and painlessly as possible. The most common treatment so far is an oral appliance to help take the pressure and strain off of the joint. This gives your TMJ a chance to heal. Call our office today at 651-319-9064 to schedule your appointment and get relief.



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