The “Temporomandibular Joint,” more commonly referred to as the “jaw joint,” assists in the basic opening and closing movements of the jaw. Unfortunately, this joint is a common area for recurring pain. Although conventional wisdom suggests that “popping” sounds in the jaw indicates a TMJ dysfunction, this is not always true. Many times, your jaw is functioning properly even if a “popping” sound is present when chewing or talking.
We offer a TMJ exam that evaluates the joint tissue in the “hinge” of the jaw. Possible problems include swelling, deterioration of the joint tissue or damaged joint tissue (which cushions the jaw bones during the opening and closing movement of the mouth). Common pain relievers and cold compresses can provide temporary relief for most cases of TMJ. In some cases we will prescribe a short term use of a muscle relaxer to be combined with pain relievers and compresses.
If the mentioned treatments do not provide long term relief then the next step typically involves the fabrication and use of a guard to relieve symptoms of clenching and grinding. For more serious cases of TMJ, we may recommend an appointment and consult with a TMJ specialist.