TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint disorder. The temporomandibular joint is located on either side of the head just in front of the ears. It is a hinge joint which allows the bottom jaw to move. It is a complex joint consisting of muscle, tendons and other connective tissues which serve many functions. This joint allows people to speak, chew and yawn as it moves up and down as well as side to side. When these joints malfunction and cause discomfort, people often seek TMJ treatment from their dentist.
Wisdom Teeth and TMJ
Wisdom teeth usually erupt in early adulthood and they can cause many issues. They are often removed because of discomfort and damage to neighboring teeth. Additionally, they can cause alignment issues, headaches and trouble sleeping. Wisdom teeth do not cause TMJ disorder, but many of the symptoms can be very similar. It is not unusual for a dental professional to discover TMJ disorder after the removal of wisdom teeth. However, it is important to note that TMJ symptoms will not subside after wisdom teeth are removed.
Many times, patients seek treatment for disruptive symptoms which may be caused by TMJ and then find that their wisdom teeth need to be removed. Only a dental professional can diagnose TMJ disorder. Although TMJ symptoms can be exacerbated by wisdom teeth eruption, wisdom teeth do not cause TMJ disorder and they will need to be treated separately.
TMJ treatment will vary with the patient and the severity of the underlying issues. Every case is different and treated on an individual basis. However, TMJ treatment may include a combination of therapies such as soft foods, manual exercises and medications. It may also include hot and cold therapies as well as injections to the site. Sometimes a custom night guard may be utilized to prevent patients from clenching or grinding their teeth. The treatment really depends on the symptoms themselves and their cause. Dentists typically start with the most conservative options available to relieve discomfort and correct the disorder.
If you are experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder, make an appointment with our office today and take the first step toward comfortable living. TMJ doesn’t have to be a part of your life.