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A woman with TMJ pain in Bremerton, WAYour mouth has several essential functions that it is responsible for every single day. It is integral for eating and communication through speech. The mouth is made up of several components, which enable it to perform these, and many other, tasks. One of these components is the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. This joint is the connection point between your mandible and your skull. It is responsible for such things as opening and closing your mouth, chewing, speech, and even yawning. Sometimes, this joint can become irritated, causing a significant amount of pain. This is known as a temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD. When you have TMD, all of the functions of your mouth become more difficult, and may also cause you an exceptional amount of pain. At Pacific Ave. Dental, we can help to restore the health of your TMJ, giving you back your quality of life.

TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder is a broad term. It refers to any one of some different issues that affect the joint and the jaw. Any of these issues can cause excruciating pain and can make once simple tasks quite difficult. Common issues that can affect the health of your TMJ include:

•  Misaligned teeth.
•  A misaligned jaw.
•  Oral or facial trauma. Injuries directly sustained in the jaw can irritate the joint. So too can whiplash, which can cause a temporary dislocation of the jaw.
•  Bruxism. This is a condition in which you grind and clench your teeth. The excessive pressure that is exerted on your jaw can tire the joint.
•  Sleep apnea. If your jaw slides back while you sleep, it can lead to bruxism.
•  Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

What are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?

Issues with your TMJ are often accompanied by a variety of different symptoms. Some of these symptoms, however, don’t appear to be related to the jaw at all. This is why TMJ often goes undiagnosed, and therefore untreated. Symptoms cause many people to seek medical, rather than dental, help, which can then lead to a misdiagnosis. Common symptoms that are often associated with TMJ disorder include:

•  Severe pain in the joint and the jaw.
•  Pain in the facial regions around the jaw and joint.
•  Difficulty with once simple daily tasks like biting, chewing and speaking.
•  You may notice a clicking, popping or grinding sound, or sensation, when you move your mouth.
•  Lockjaw. This is a condition in which your jaw temporarily locks open or shut.
•  Chronic headaches or earaches.

Treatments for Your TMJ

Before treating your TMJ disorder, it is important to have a thorough oral examination. During this exam, we can determine the cause of your TMJ issues, which can then help us to formulate the most effective treatment plan for you. During this consultation, we visually inspect your mouth as well as take X-rays. The X-ray images allow us to see what is happening below the gum line, providing us with a complete picture.

Once we have diagnosed the cause of your TMJ issues, we are then able to determine the best course of action. Common treatments for TMJ disorder include:

•  A night guard. This is an oral appliance that is often worn to protect the teeth and jaw in the event of bruxism. The guard works to hold your jaw in proper alignment and absorb the forces exerted by your mouth when you clench.
•  Botox. Commonly used for cosmetic purposes, strategically injected Botox can be used to relax the jaw muscles. In doing so, these injections help to alleviate bruxism.
•  Orthodontics. A misaligned jaw and teeth can often benefit from orthodontic treatment.
•  Oral surgery. If no other treatments work for alleviating your TMJ disorder, we may recommend you for oral surgery. Surgery can be used to fix malocclusions, issues caused by oral trauma and more.

Correcting issues with your TMJ can greatly improve the quality of your life. For more information, or to schedule your consultation, contact Westlake Oral Surgery at Pacific Ave. Dental today.
Pacific Ave. Dental
Allan L. Hablutzel, D.D.S.

820 Pacific Ave., Suite 204
Bremerton, WA 98337

Call (360) 373-3515

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Bremerton's Best of Dentistry 2015
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