1739 NE 122nd Ave, Portland, OR 97230
(503) 622-9730

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TMJ Disorders

A diagram of someone suffering from a TMJ DisorderYour mouth relies on several different components to perform a wide variety of functions. One of the most important components is the temporomandibular joint or the TMJ. You have two of these joints, one on each side of the face. They are the meeting point between the mandible and the skull. These joints, which consist of a ball and socket with a disc between them, along with the attached muscles, ligaments and bones are responsible for the movements of your mouth. The discs absorb all of the forces that are placed on the TMJ. When the TMJ is irritated and inflamed, all of the functions that they perform are affected, which can severely limit the motions of your mouth. This can have a significant impact on your day to day life. Hunter Dental Care can help.

TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder is a term that covers a broad category of issues that affect your TMJ as well as the jaw and the attached muscles. No matter what the cause of your TMJ pain, the issue can significantly impact your ability to perform basic functions such as eating and speaking, decreasing your overall quality of life.

Causes of TMJ Disorder

There are some different causes of TMJ disorder.

•  Facial trauma. Facial injuries, which can occur in a car accident, a fall, or a sports injury, can irritate the joint and the jaw.
•  Jaw dislocation. If the jaw becomes dislocated, even only for a few seconds, irritation can occur.
•  Bruxism. This is a condition in which you grind and clench your teeth, which places excessive pressure on your TMJ and your jaw.
•  Osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis causes the deterioration of the cartilage in your joints, including the TMJ.
•  Rheumatoid arthritis. With this type of arthritis, the immune system attacks your joints, causing inflammation.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

Symptoms of TMJ disorder vary, due to the different causes of the issue. These symptoms also do not occur all at once. In fact, they occur gradually, worsening over time. Symptoms of TMJ disorder include:

•  Severe joint and jaw pain.
•  Difficulty opening and closing your mouth. This can affect your abilities to eat and speak.
•  You may hear or feel a clicking, popping or grinding sensation.
•  Your jaw may lock. This causes you to be unable to open or close your mouth temporarily.
•  Facial pain and swelling near the jaw.
•  Chronic headaches, which are caused by the stresses placed on the jaw traveling to different areas of the skull.
•  Chronic earaches. These often occur due to the proximity between the ears and the TMJ. The pain from the joints radiate to the ears.

Diagnosing TMJ Disorder

If you suspect an issue with your TMJ, we will perform a thorough oral examination. During this examination we assess the condition of your teeth, checking for alignment issues and wear patterns. We also take images of your mouth, which might include X-rays, CT scans, CAT scans or 3D imaging. These images allow us to see the teeth, the jawbone, the joints, the ligaments and the muscles. With a full picture of the condition of your mouth, we can formulate an accurate diagnosis and recommend the most effective treatments for your needs.

TMJ Disorder Treatments

There are several treatments that are available for TMJ disorder. We may recommend one of these treatments or a combination of multiple treatments that will help to provide you with optimal results.

•  Caring for your TMJ at home. Minor issues with the TMJ can often be treated at home with OTC pain medications, ice and heat packs, a revised diet consisting of soft foods, or even practicing relaxation techniques.
•  Oral appliances. In cases of bruxism, we may recommend an oral appliance, which is a custom fit guard that is meant to be worn at night. This guard works to hold your jaw in proper alignment and absorb the impact of the forces grinding and clenching places on your jaw and joints.
•  Botox. While normally associated with cosmetic procedures, Botox can be an effective treatment for bruxism. Botox injections work to weaken the muscles in the mouth, preventing you from grinding and clenching.
•  Braces, or other orthodontic treatment. If your TMJ disorder is caused by alignment issues, orthodontics can help to properly align your teeth and jaw to alleviate pain.
•  Oral surgery. In severe cases, or cases in which no other treatments have worked, oral surgery may be recommended.

With an appropriate diagnosis, we can provide you with the most effective treatment possible, which can greatly help to alleviate the pain associated with TMJ disorder and restore your quality of life. Call Hunter Dental Care today to schedule your appointment at (503) 622-9730.
Office Hours

Monday 7AM–3PM
Tuesday 7AM–3PM
Wednesday 8AM–5PM
Thursday 8AM–5PM
Saturday CLOSED

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1739 NE 122nd Ave
Portland, OR 97230
(503) 622-9730


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