What is TMJ Anyway? 3 Things To Know

TMJ Dentists in Grand Rapids MIYou’ve probably heard of the term TMJ before, but what does it mean? What do you need to know so you’ll be ready to talk about TMJ with your local dentist? At Bander Dental Group, we want to give you the tools and knowledge you need to stay smiling. Here’s what we want you to know about TMJ.

TMJ Basics

TMJ is an abbreviation for the body’s temporomandibular joint. Your TMJ is in your mouth and it serves as a sort of hinge between your skull and jaw. In the eyes of dentists and over 10 million Americans, TMJ is often associated with TMJ disorder, in which someone experiences pain in their jaw region.

So, when someone says they have TMJ, you now know that’s a given. Everyone has a TMJ, but not everyone suffers from a TMJ disorder.

What Is TMJ Disorder?

A TMJ disorder is when someone experiences jaw pain on a continual basis. There is actually more than one form of TMJ disorder too and each happens for a different reason, such as strain, overuse, illness, or even genetics.

The three most common forms are:

  • Myofascial pain: Myofascial jaw pain encapsulates general jaw pain one experiences with TMJ disorders due to chronic pain disorders.
  • Pain from injury: Anything from a displaced disc, a dislocated jaw, and other injuries fall into this category.
  • Arthritis pain: This category refers to inflammation or degenerative pains within the temporomandibular joint due to things like arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Normal jaw pains are something you shouldn’t worry about, though.

Your Grand Rapids dentists want to make sure you’re not stressing about something that will handle itself. If you’re experiencing jaw pain, don’t immediately jump to a TMJ related disorder or a tooth infection. Give it some time to see if the pain goes away, as normal pain cycles do happen in your jaw.

If the pain does not go away after a few days, it might be time to request a visit.

How Can I Treat TMJ Disorder?

Depending on the severity of your TMJ disorder, treatments will vary.

One of the most common causes of TMJ is teeth grinding, or what dentists call “bruxism.” A preventative option to this may be a TMJ night guard to protect your teeth.

In some cases, you may benefit from TMJ therapy and holistic options. We’re a big fan of these because they’re pain-free and aimed to restore your mouth to full health.

Depending on the severity of the condition, TMJ surgery may be beneficial. We try to keep this as a last resort, but don’t want you to fear it should surgery become necessary. Here at Bander Dental Group, your Grand Rapids dentistry, we’re more than prepared to make sure your TMJ gets treated right.

Children and TMJ

As a parent, you may worry about your child dealing with TMJ. But at Bander Dental Group, we’re here to help ensure that your child’s jaw stays nice and healthy. If you believe your child is grinding their teeth at night, suffering from an injury (we know some kids don’t like wearing mouth guards even though they should!), or showing signs of inflammation in the jaw, we’ll be sure to help them out with the best practices in children’s dentistry.

Want More on Dental Health?

We hope this guide on TMJ disorders has been helpful for you. For more information on dental health, check out our blog page where we have tons of tips, such as 3 steps for dealing with TMJ pain.

If you still have questions or want to request an appointment, feel free to contact us online or give us a call at (616) 949-5980. Our TMJ dentists at Bander Dental Group are here to help you smile with ease.

This blog post has been updated.