Treatments for TMJ Disorder

Your mouth is made up of several components that enable it to perform a variety of different functions. The temporomandibular joints, commonly abbreviated as TMJ, are located on each side of the face where the lower jaw meets your skull. These joints work with the attached muscles, bones, and ligaments to allow your jaw to open and close as well as move side to side. Each joint has a disc between a ball and socket. The disc works to absorb the impact of the load placed on it. If the TMJ becomes irritated and inflamed, it may become difficult, if not impossible, to move your mouth or use it anyway. At Plymouth Ann Arbor Oral & Facial Surgery, we can help to alleviate pain and restore the functions of your mouth with treatments for TMJ disorder.

TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder, also called TMD, is a broad term for any issue that affects the health and functioning of your jaw and your temporomandibular joints. These issues can cause irritation and inflammation of the joints, which can make biting, chewing, speaking, even just opening and closing your mouth difficult. The pain can become so severe that it may feel almost impossible to use your mouth at all.

Pain in the jaw and TMJ are the most common symptoms of TMJ disorder. Other symptoms that may accompany the disorder include:
•  Swelling near the TMJ.
•  Facial pain.
•  Difficulty, even pain, opening and closing your mouth.
•  Lockjaw. This is a condition in which your jaw temporarily becomes immobile, making it impossible to move your mouth at all.
•  Clicking, popping, or grinding sounds or sensations in your jaw when you move your mouth.
•  Chronic headaches or earaches. While seemingly unrelated, these issues are often caused by the pain radiating from the TMJ.

What Causes TMJ Disorder?

There are multiple causes of TMJ disorder, including:
•  Facial trauma, such as a car accident, sports injury, or fall.
•  Jaw dislocation. Even temporary dislocation from whiplash can cause tiny tears that can cause irritation, inflammation, and a significant amount of pain.
•  Bruxism. The grinding and clenching of your teeth have many causes. It can be the result of misalignment, gum disease, and stress. When you suffer bruxism, the excessive pressures exerted on your teeth and jaw can cause severe pain as well as tire the jaw muscles.
•  Certain types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the cartilage in your joints deteriorates. Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation in your joints.

How is TMJ Disorder Diagnosed?

A dental exam is necessary to diagnose the cause of your TMJ disorder so that we are able to determine the best treatment to restore your oral health. First, we perform a visual inspection of your mouth, checking over your teeth and jaws for alignment issues and looking over your gums. We also take images of your mouth, which may include X-rays, CT scans, and CAT scans. These images allow us to see the roots of your teeth, your jawbone, and the joints. Once we have determined the exact cause of your TMJ disorder, we can then create a customized treatment plan to help alleviate your discomfort and restore your oral health.

Treatment Options for TMJ Disorder

Your available treatments are based on the diagnosed cause of your TMJ disorder. Treatments we may recommend include:
•  Treatment at home, including over the counter and prescription pain medications and stress relief tactics.
•  An oral appliance. This is a device worn to alleviate the symptoms of bruxism. Worn while you sleep, the oral appliance absorbs the impact exerted by your jaw.
•  Botox. Botox is an injectable treatment. While commonly used as a cosmetic treatment, Botox can also be used to weaken the muscles in your jaw to help alleviate bruxism.
•  Orthodontic treatment. If your TMJ disorder is caused by poorly aligned teeth or jaws, orthodontic treatment can help to solve your discomfort.
•  Oral surgery. There are a variety of different surgeries that may be performed to help restore your oral health. These procedures include arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, and open jaw surgery. Surgical procedures are often reserved as a last effort or in severe cases.

If your TMJ is causing you significant discomfort that is interfering with your quality of life, there is help. Call Plymouth Ann Arbor Oral & Facial Surgery today at (734) 455-0710 for more information and to schedule your consultation.


9416 S. Main St. Suite 211
Plymouth, MI. 48170

Call (734) 455-0710


1303 S. Main St. Suite B
Chelsea, MI. 48118

Call (734) 475-0710

Ann Arbor

3055 Plymouth Road Suite 202
Ann Arbor, MI. 48105

Call (734) 761-5885


1900 Packard Road
Ypsilanti, MI. 48197

Call (734) 481-0010

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