TMJ Practice

Rio Rancho Family Dental Care

Family Dentists & Cosmetic Dentists located in Rio Rancho, NM

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) can be an incredibly painful and disruptive condition. At Rio Rancho Family Dental Care in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, Grant Allen, DDS, offers excellent diagnostic and treatment options for TMJ and other jaw issues. If you’re troubled by jaw pain or feel that something just isn’t right with your bite, call the office to set up a diagnostic exam. Online scheduling is also available, and is fast and easy.

TMJ Q & A

What is temporomandibular joint disorder?

Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, is a condition in which the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull isn’t functioning properly. If you’re like most, you probably pay little attention to your two temporomandibular joints, which sit just in front of each ear. 

Your temporomandibular joint allows you to open and close your mouth. It’s necessary for eating, speaking, and yawning. The joint is capable of both hinge and rotation actions. 

Like all joints, your temporomandibular joint consists of bones, nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues. A problem with any of these components can lead to significant pain in the joint and surrounding tissues. 

What are the symptoms of TMJ?

Jaw pain is the most common symptom of temporomandibular joint disorder. Some additional indications of the condition include:

  • Headaches
  • Ear pain
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Popping or clicking sounds when you open or close your mouth
  • Facial swelling
  • Changes in your bite
  • Nausea and vomiting

If you notice any of these changes, schedule a diagnostic exam right away to explore potential causes. 

What can be done to treat TMJ?

Various treatment options can help, depending on the degree of joint damage and the likely cause. If nighttime teeth grinding, a condition called bruxism, is a factor, a custom-fitted night guard might be a good option.

This is an oral device that you wear during sleep. It keeps your jaw in the proper position and prevents teeth grinding. It can take some getting used to, but a night guard is often an effective option. 

Medications can help by relaxing the muscles in your jaw. Drug therapy can also control pain from TMJ, and certain antidepressants can be effective by helping you sleep, preventing teeth grinding, and relieving pain.

Some men and women find relief through physical therapy. Certain exercises can strengthen the muscles that support your jaw and relieve pain. In some cases, surgery is the only way to correct severe jaw issues. 

When you’re ready to find relief from jaw pain and other TMJ symptoms, call the office to book a visit, or spend a few moments on the online scheduling page.