When to See an Orthodontist for TMJ Treatment

It can be tempting to just head to your dentist if you have pain in your jaw. That is where you should start, but unlike a dentist, an orthodontist is going to be able to administer treatment. If you’re one of the people who have lumped together with the dentist and orthodontist you might be surprised to know that they are different. Every orthodontist is a dentist because they have that training but every dentist isn’t an orthodontist. There is special training and schooling to become an orthodontist and that is why they can help you with jaw pain. 

One of the most common jaw pain sources is TMJ. TMJ is complicated and that means you need someone who understands that. When you contact John Redmond Orthodontics you can know that you are in good hands. 

What is TMJ Disorder? 

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is one of the most used joints in the human body. It is located in the area just in front of the ears and connects the jaw to the side of your head. It also is connected to many of the facial muscles and nerves. This join is responsible for sliding and rotating in the motions that allow us to speak, chew, or yawn. When pain starts in this joint it can make it hard to do normal everyday things. 

Here are some of the symptoms that come with signs of TMJ: 

  • Physical jaw joint discomfort 
  • Tenderness
  • Extreme pain in the jaw 
  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Ear ringing
  • Swelling on sides of the face
  • Jaw muscle stiffness
  • Issues opening your mouth widely
  • Popping, clicking, grating, or locking of the jaw when opening or coughing mouth
  • Sensitivity in teeth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Sudden Changes in how your teeth fit together
  • Radiating pain in the jaw, neck, or face

Causes of TMJ Disorder

There are many reasons TMJ disorder can happen. Typically if you have one of the symptoms above your dentist or ear, nose, and throat specialist will examine the jaw. From there, there will be several tests to see how the joint is doing and the severity of the issue. What causes the disorder is a mystery. There are plenty of reasons and here are the most common ones: 

  • Trauma to the jaw
  • Arthritis
  • Habitual teeth grinding or clenching (most often caused by stress or anxiety) 
  • Erosion of the joint 
  • Missing teeth
  • Pre-existing bite problems or misalignment 
  • Structural jaw abnormalities present from birth 

It can be hard to know what the real cause is of TMJ but often it is one of those. People with high-stress jobs or those who are performing strenuous physical activities are the most common people to develop TMJ disorder. 

By talking to an orthodontist like the team at John Redmond Orthodontics you can start the recovery process of TMJ. There is no need to keep suffering pain if you don’t have to, and you can get your smile back. Reach out today to learn more.