Certain oral health conditions can trigger a domino effect, causing you to experience sensitivity or pain in other areas of your body. This is especially relevant regarding TMJ Disorders. While this disorder primarily impacts your jaw, it can also cause problems with your head, neck, shoulders, and facial muscles.

If you’re seeking more information about TMJ and TMJ treatment in Kelowna, get in touch with a dentist near you today!

What is TMJ Disorder?

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) or TMJ Disorder is a condition that, when it manifests, causes functional issues with your jaw. Talking, yawning, and eating can become a serious challenge.

Our temporomandibular joints are located on either side of our face, connecting our lower jaw to the base of our skulls. These joints interact with several other systems of our body, including our oral cavity, head, and neck muscles. TMD pain can be either acute or chronic; if left untreated, you may require more advanced treatment to fully amend the issue.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder are as follows:

    • Tenderness or swelling in your jaw.
    • Lockjaw.
    • Problems biting and chewing.
    • Earaches, headaches, neck aches, and shoulder aches.
    • A “popping” or clicking sound when you move your jaw.
    • Tooth pain.
    • A tired feeling in your face.

This condition is most commonly seen in adults between the ages of 20 to 40. However, regardless of your age, if you’re dealing with bruxism (teeth grinding), stress, or oral trauma, there is the potential for TMD to arise.

TMJ Disorder and Your Ears

One thing that a lot of people don’t realize about TMJ Disorder, in particular, is just how much it can impact your ears. Did you know that these specific joints and your ear canals share the same bone structure in your skull?

More often than not, TMJ dysfunction is mistaken for simple earaches and infections. The tissues that attach these two systems can be constantly pinched or stretched, especially when you’re attempting to open or close your jaw. As a result, you can experience a ringing in your ear (also known as tinnitus), and even have problems hearing clearly.

If you’re experiencing any of this, don’t hesitate to speak to a doctor or a dentist in Kelowna. They’ll be more than happy to address any queries or concerns that you have.

Treating TMJ Disorder

There are several different approaches that you can take to alleviate TMJ pain such as the ones noted below:

1. Medications.

Depending on your symptoms, you can be prescribed anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, and even antidepressants. In terms of the latter, anti-depressant medications can also help treat sleeplessness, pain relief, and bruxism.

2. Therapy.

This method favors non-drug-related solutions. You can visit your dentist to have a customized mouth guard or night guard made; this separates your teeth and provides a cushion against grinding, clenching, and external forces. If you choose to receive physical therapy, your therapist can provide you with exercises to help increase jaw movement and strengthen those muscles.

3. Surgery.

In this case, you’ll most likely be referred to an oral maxillofacial surgeon. With their in-depth expertise surrounding head and neck disorders, they will examine your oral cavity and your jaw through a physical examination and take x-rays to understand your specific situation. Then they’ll discuss with you the most suitable road to take moving forward. This can entail Botox injections, arthroscopic surgery, or open-joint surgery.

At Dr. Sean M. Swift Dentistry, we provide TMJ treatment near you. New and returning patients alike are encouraged to call, go to our website, or stop by our local clinic in person to book an initial consultation. Our team members are excited to be a part of your oral health journey. We will see you very soon!