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Signs of TMJ Disorders and When to See a Dentist
Mercer Island, WA


Woman with jaw pain in need of TMJ disorder appointment with Dr. Shiotsu in Mercer IslandProper oral health is not just about maintaining a healthy and beautiful smile. While your teeth and gums play a major role, your jaw is just as important. Unfortunately, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which controls the movement of your jaw, is complex and fragile. If you experience problems with your TMJ, we here at Goichi Shiotsu, DDS recommend scheduling an appointment as soon as possible. We offer several treatments designed to correct the signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders, also known as TMD.

What Is the TMJ?


The temporomandibular joint acts like a sliding hinge that allows you to move your jaw forward, backward, and side-to-side. This complex joint consists of muscles, ligaments, bones, cartilage, and discs on each side of the jaw. The bones within the joint are covered with cartilage and separated by a shock-absorbing disk.

Problems with the TMJ can prevent you from properly using your jaw. If you suffer from TMD, you may have issues chewing, speaking, yawning, and even smiling. We recommend seeking medical treatment if you experience any of the major symptoms associated with TMJ disorders.

Causes and Symptoms of TMJ Disorders


The exact cause of your TMD will be hard to pinpoint, even with the latest techniques and technology. This is because TMD shares many symptoms with other disorders, like bruxism (teeth grinding). However, most TMJ symptoms are related to disk erosion, disk misalignments, cartilage damaged by arthritis, and facial trauma.

The symptoms of TMJ are much easier to recognize. Some of these symptoms include:
•  Pain or tenderness in one or both sides of your face
•  Pain or tenderness in the jaw muscles
•  Pain when opening and closing the jaw
•  Immobility of the jaw (lockjaw)
•  General pain in the face
•  Problems chewing, speaking, or yawning
•  Clicking or grating noises when using the jaw

Pain is usually the biggest indicator that something is wrong with your TMJ. Your pain may be the result of several factors like arthritis, injury, and genetics. While many of the symptoms can be managed with self-care, it is important to consult with a dentist first.

Diagnosis and Treatment of TMJ Disorders


During your initial consultation, Dr. Shiotsu will discuss your symptoms and perform a comprehensive exam. Your exam is typically broken up into physical visual components that may include digital x-rays and CBCT scans. These diagnostic tools provide us with an in-depth overview of the bones, muscles, and disks within your TMJ.
Treatments for TMD are as varied as its symptoms. In some cases, your symptoms may disappear with no treatment at all. Persistent symptoms usually require professional intervention.

One of our most common treatments involves a custom-made mouth guard, especially if you clench your jaw at night. During sleep, your mouth guard will keep the jaw in a more relaxed position. Your guard will also protect your teeth from the harmful effects of bruxism.

For severe TMD, we may recommend certain medications like pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxants. It’s important to note that the use of medications is usually a temporary measure. We may also recommend habit counseling and physical therapy as more permanent solutions.

Schedule Your Consultation Now!


Waiting to see a dentist may result in worse symptoms and greater complications. Call (206) 232-3600 to schedule your consultation now!
Goichi Shiotsu, DDS Logo - Mercer Island Dentist
Location
2825 80th Ave SE, Suite 3
Mercer Island, WA 98040

Hours
Tuesday–Friday: 8am–5pm
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