TMJ Treatment Bellevue
The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the two joints that slide and rotate in front of each ear, connecting the skull to the lower jaw. These complicated joints, which comprise the temporal bone and the mandible jaw, allow the jaw to move up and down, side to side, and forward and back. Chewing, yawning, talking, and swallowing are all possible when the joints are appropriately positioned. When muscles, the jawbone, ligaments, and the disk are out of alignment, they may all cause problems.
What is TMD?
Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are problems with the TMJ, jaw, muscles, and nerves that bring pain in the face. TMD occurs when the muscles, joints, and bones do not cooperate. Our TMJ specialists and TMD dentists at Cooley Smiles provide assistance in the treatment of these disorders.
What Are Symptoms of Having TMJ?
The purpose of the TMJ is to allow full movement of the mandible (lower jaw). With a temporomandibular disorder, you get a common condition that involves a multitude of symptoms.
A few of these symptoms involve a limited amount of movement of the jaw, earaches and pains, as well as a headache. There also could be popping sounds, grating, or even a clicking being heard as you manipulate the jaw.
What Causes TMJ?
While our dentists do not know what causes TMJ, we do know that having it can cause a lot of problems in your day-to-day life. If you have suffered a blow to the head, have been grinding your teeth, or have been clenching your teeth due to stress, you are at risk of developing TMD.
Treatments for TMJ
Treatment for TMJ typically focuses on relieving pain, reducing jaw dysfunction, and improving the patient's overall quality of life.
Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate pain and inflammation. Muscle relaxants may be prescribed by your doctor.
Oral Splints or Mouthguards
A custom-fitted oral splint or mouth guard can help reduce jaw clenching or teeth grinding, which can contribute to TMJ symptoms. These are typically worn at night or during times of stress.
Physical therapists can provide exercises and techniques to improve jaw function and reduce pain. Moist heat and manual therapy may be used to relax muscles and promote healing.
Counseling and Stress Management
Behavioral therapies and counseling can help patients manage stress and anxiety, which may contribute to TMJ symptoms, especially clenching of the jaw during times of stress.
In cases where malocclusion (misalignment of the teeth) is contributing to TMJ symptoms, orthodontic treatment or dental adjustments may be recommended.
Surgical intervention for TMJ can be considered when conservative treatments have been unsuccessful and the condition is severe. Procedures may include arthroscopy, arthrocentesis (joint flushing), or open-joint surgery to repair or replace the joint.
Botox Injections have also been found to be useful in treating TMJ.
TMJ Treatment is Available at Cooley Smiles
It is important to visit a professional if your signs are persistent to avoid severe damage that can be avoided on early diagnosis. If you are experiencing any symptoms, contact our TMD dentists and TMJ specialists at Cooley Smiles at (425) 998-6998 to schedule an appointment.