You may not give the joints and muscles in your jaw much thought until they start to cause problems. Temporomandibular joint — or TMJ — disorders affects about 15% of Americans. As a dentist with many years of experience, Dr. Euclid McLeod Jr., DDS, examines each patient that comes into his Georgetown, Texas, office for TMJ disorders during their routine dental exams. If you’re experiencing jaw pain or clicking, call the office or book an appointment online for an evaluation.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) refers to your jaw joint, which is located at the base of your skull, right below your ear, and connects your top and bottom jaw.
The joint itself isn’t like other joints in your body, in that it consists of a rounded end that sits in an indentation in your skull. Ligaments keep the joint snuggly in place.
The ligaments, muscles, and joints of your jaw all work together to help move your jaw up and down for chewing and speaking.
Like other joints in your body, the TMJ is susceptible to injury and disease, causing pain and affecting function, leading to what is referred to as a TMJ disorder.
Causes of TMJ disorder include:
Symptoms of TMJ disorders include:
TMJ disorder symptoms aren’t always very obvious, which is why it’s important to see Dr. McLeod routinely for regular check-ups.
Treatment for your TMJ disorder may depend on the cause. Dr. McLeod may initially recommend some modifications to your diet, such as eating softer foods and omitting gum and other chewy foods. He may also suggest relaxing activities and rest to reduce tension in your jaw muscles, or a night guard to prevent grinding.
For misalignment, Dr. McLeod may recommend orthodontic treatment to move your teeth into a better position.
If you need surgery — which isn’t common for TMJ — Dr. McLeod refers you to one of the best oral maxillofacial surgeons in the area.
In addition to your regular check-ups with Dr. McLeod, you can improve the health of your TMJ joint by keeping your teeth healthy with daily brushing and flossing.
If you’re experiencing jaw pain or have concerns about TMJ disorders, Dr. McLeod and his team of dental experts can help. Call the office or use the online booking agent to make an appointment.