Buck and Phillips, Your Oral Surgeon for TMJ In Birmingham, AL
Throughout life, almost everyone experiences some form of dental problem or another. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are common problems that have become increasingly easy to diagnose and treat. Many patients don’t realize that they might be suffering from a TMJ disorder, making it even more important to understand them.
What is a TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorders occur when the joints that connect the jaw to your skull do not work like they’re supposed to. These joints are known as temporomandibular joints (or chewing muscles) and are responsible for helping you chew your food, speak properly, and contribute to the movement of your head.
TMJ disorders can stem from damaging the surrounding tissues and even the joint itself. Most TMJ disorders are caused by injury to the jaw area, neck, genetics, arthritis, or a combination. It is imperative to catch TMJ disorders and get treatment for them ASAP. Leaving the symptoms to persist over more extended periods can lead to further damage and a worsening of symptoms and pain.
Symptoms to Look Out for
There are several symptoms to look out for when assessing whether you might be suffering from a TMJ disorder. Be sure to take note of the following symptoms:
- Pain or tenderness of your jaw
- Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints
- Aching pain in and around the ear
- Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
- Aching facial pain
- Frequent headaches and neck aches
- Grinding and clenching of jaw and teeth
- Jaw click, popping, locking, grating, and/or catching of the jaw
- Difficulty opening and closing mouth when eating, yawning, or talking
- Misaligned teeth when eating or closing the mouth
If you are experiencing a combination of these symptoms, you could have a TMJ disorder. While not every jaw disorder will fit into the same category, the Oral Surgeons of Buck and Phillips will be able to assess the damage and offer a comprehensive treatment plan.
Why Do TMJ Issues Occur?
There are several reasons why jaw joint issues occur. For many patients, there are underlying causes; TMJ pain can stem from injury to the neck, head, or jaw. Arthritis and connective tissue diseases are all possible causes of TMJ disorders.
Stress is another contributing factor to TMJ disorders and pain. The team at Buck and Phillips Oral Surgery are skilled diagnostic oral surgeons for TMJ located conveniently in Birmingham, Alabama.
TMJ Surgery Overview
For a brief narrated overview of the TMJ surgery process, please click the image below. It will launch our educational MiniModule in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about TMJ surgery.
Treatment for TMJ
Not all TMJ disorders fall within the same category. The Buck and Phillips Oral Surgery team in Birmingham, AL, will be able to assess the damage done, and offer various treatments tailored to your needs.
There are a few at-home TMJ treatment options and solutions that might offer temporary relief. However, it is always best to consult an oral surgeon for TMJ pain relief and corrective procedures to prevent further damage and strain on the area.
At-home solutions you can do, include:
- Resting the jaw
- Avoid clashing your teeth together unless you are eating and chewing food
- Limit hard and chewy foods
- Apply hot or cold compresses to the affected areas
- Correct posture.
Nightguards and shields can also offer relief from grinding and clenching your teeth, and help reduce tension throughout the night.
How Can an Oral Surgeon Help Me with TMJ?
The Buck and Phillips Oral Surgery team is fully equipped with diagnostic equipment and facilities. It is always best to consult a specialized dental practice or an oral surgeon such as Dr. Buck and Dr. Phillips.
Oral surgeons can quickly diagnose and offer a tailored treatment plan for the extent of your TMJ disorder. To get an accurate view of what is going on in your jaw, you might need to submit for:
- Dental X-rays
- CT scans to check the bones surrounding the jaw and within the joint
- MRI scans to evaluate the disks in the joint and soft tissues
- TMJ arthroscopy, a small procedure where a camera is inserted via a cannula into the joint space to assess for further damage
If you catch TMJ early, some, or all, of these methods may not be necessary. In that case, Drs. Buck or Phillips might need to check the range of motion available in your jaw, and test the area for joint pain or discomfort, listening to the sounds the jaw makes when opening and closing.
If you find yourself or your family member suffering from any of these symptoms or others related to TMJ or any of our other areas of service, give Buck and Phillips Oral Surgery a call. We can assess your situation and create a plan of treatment specific to you. Give one of our clinics a call today to set your appointment or with any questions.