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The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) supports common facial functions throughout the day – such as speaking, chewing, and yawning. These joints are positioned on each side of the face in front of the ears, connecting the lower jawbone to the skull, and can be easily felt when moving your jaw open and closed. Should these joints begin to function improperly, a condition known as TMJ Disorder (TMD) may develop. The resulting pain and various other symptoms can spread to further areas of the face and body, or even cause long-term oral damage if TMD is left untreated. If you believe you may have TMD, our highly skilled team of dentists at New England Dental Group can assess your symptoms and oral health to determine the best course of treatment.

What Is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ Disorder occurs when the muscles and ligaments surrounding one or both of the temporomandibular joints become inflamed, irritated, swollen, or injured. TMD is quite common, affecting millions of people around the world, and can result from simple overuse of the temporomandibular joints, stress, jaw misalignment, an improper bite, arthritis, teeth grinding or clenching, or a breakdown of cartilage. A full oral evaluation completed by your dentist is the most reliable way to monitor and measure your condition, evaluate the severity of symptoms, and determine the best treatments available to help with your diagnosis.

What Are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?

TMJ Disorder symptoms can vary greatly for each individual depending on the cause and severity of the condition. However, some of the common symptoms include: 

Once your symptoms have been evaluated by a qualified dentist, a custom treatment plan can be created to ease the pain and discomfort from TMD.

How Can I Treat TMJ Pain?

Although not intended for long-term or corrective treatments, there are some at-home remedies that can help to alleviate painful symptoms attributed to TMJ Disorder until you can have a professional dental evaluation. A few examples include applying moist heat or cold packs to the affected area, slow jaw stretches, gentle jaw exercises, avoiding hard or chewy foods, and taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and/or muscle relaxing medications as needed (under the advisement of a dentist).

Can TMJ Disorder Go Away on Its Own?

Resolution of TMJ dysfunction is different for every person and depends on how intensely the condition is affecting the individual, as well as the primary cause of TMD. For mild cases, the symptoms may be temporary and diminish within a few days. However, if symptoms are more severe and making it difficult to function like normal throughout the day, a treatment plan should be established as soon as possible. This is especially true if the underlying issue is a chronic problem, such as with arthritis or bruxism; if pain or discomfort is spreading to other areas; or if symptoms become recurrent.

What TMJ Treatments Are Available?

Our experienced dentists take great care in helping patients clearly understand all of their treatment options, especially for painful conditions like TMD. Since early detection can be a key factor in fixing issues before they become worse, our dentists use the GALILEOS® 3D dental imaging system to capture a digital x-ray and scan of your jaw. This state-of-the-art technology can help provide a more accurate diagnosis and effective, all-encompassing treatment plan. TMD treatment solutions may include any of the following on their own or in combination with each other: 

If you’re experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms, or have general questions about TMJ Disorder, please contact our experienced and trusted team at New England Dental Group for a consultation today.