Unlock Your Dream Smile Today - Contact Us


TMJ: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

The human body contains many different types of joints. Without these joints, we wouldn't be able to move the way we do. One of the most complex joints is the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), but where is it and what does it help us do? Here, our the Okanagan Valley dentists talk about TMJ disorders, what the causes and symptoms are and how they can be treated.

What are TMJ disorders and what do they affect?

The TMJ is the joint in your face that connects the temporal bone to the jaw. This joint is used to everything that you do that involves your mouth including, breathing, eating and talking.

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) happen when there is an issue with your jaw and facial muscles. You begin to experience pain in the area and if the disorder progresses to a severe state, the joint may eventually be unable to move.

What are the different types of TMJ disorders?

What are the 3 types of TMJ disorders that commonly affect patients?

Joint Degenerative Disorders

Most commonly known as osteoarthritis, this joint degenerative disorder happens when cartilage holding the round ends of the two bones in your jaw together breaks or wears away.

Cartilage absorbs shocks during movement and allows your bones to glide easily over each other. When the cartilage erodes, pain and swelling will occur, and you may be unable to move your jaw.

Muscle Disorders

Also referred to as myofascial pain, muscle disorders involve pain and discomfort in all the muscles controlling the function of your jaw. You may also experience pain in your jaw muscles, shoulders and neck.

Joint Derangement Disorders

A soft, small disc located between the temporal bone and the condyle makes the opening and closing of the jaw smooth and easy. This disc is also important as it absorbs shocks to the jaw joint that happen during movement.

When an individual has a joint derangement disorder, the inner workings of the jaw are disrupted or unbalanced due to a dislocated disc or damaged bone.

This displaced disc causes internal derangement of the temporomandibular joint. Currently, there is no surgical solution to this problem.

What are the common symptoms of TMJ disorders?

With every type of TMJ Disorder, you’ll likely experience pain in your jaw and face. This means that every time you eat or talk you may experience a great deal of discomfort.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Facial bruising or swelling
  • Problems opening, closing or clenching your jaw
  • Headaches, dizziness or pain in your temples
  • Grinding, clicking or popping sounds when you open your jaw
  • Additional pain in your neck and/or shoulders

When is it necessary to seek treatment for TMJ disorders?

Suppose at-home remedies such as avoiding stress, chewing gum, gently massaging your neck and jaw muscles, and trying over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) have not proven effective. If this is the case for you then it will be worth your time to reach out to your dentist in the Okanagan Valley.

Your dentist will review your dental history, perform a thorough examination of your bite and jaw, and take x-rays to assess before providing an official diagnosis of TMJ Disorder. The treatment he or she recommends may include:

  • TMJ therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Oral Surgery
  • Dental splints
  • Prescription medications

If you have questions about the next steps to take for treating conditions such as TMJ, please don't hesitate to reach out to our team.

Are you experiencing dental pain related to facial conditions? Our dentist may be able to help. Request an appointment with our the Okanagan Valley dentists today.

New Patients Always Welcome

Looking for a dentist in the Okanagan Valley? We're happily accepting new patients at our dental clinic! Contact us to get started. 

Request Appointment

(250) 767-6411