Is TMJ A Medical Or A Dental Problem?

TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders often cause pain and popping in the jaw, and over time lead to a variety of other symptoms, such as headaches, difficulties eating and speaking, and more.

People suffering from TMJ disorders often need to first determine the root cause of the condition to access the right treatment. However, you might have seen that TMJ disorder treatments are offered both at the dentist’s office and the practices of ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialists. So, is a TMJ disorder a medical or a dental issue?

TMJ Disorders Can Be Both Medical and Dental Problems

The cause of the disorder will usually determine if your case of TMJ disorder is a medical or a dental problem. For example, this condition can be caused by certain medical problems such as fibromyalgia, which causes widespread pain that can include the jaw, though patients will likely experience pain in other areas of the body as well. Arthritis is another medical condition that can lead to a TMJ disorder.

However, TMJ disorders can also be a dental problem by nature, especially when it is caused by an underlying problem with a person’s teeth. For example, teeth grinding, or bruxism, is another cause of jaw pain, and during the consultation, the dentist can spot the signs you might be grinding your teeth (such as cracks in the enamel) and recommend a treatment plan that will also reduce the jaw pain.

How Do Dentists Treat TMJ Disorders?

There are several ways to address TMJ disorders at the dentist’s office:

  • Nightguards (to help with tooth grinding)
  • Botox injections
  • Jaw surgery
  • Medication for pain relief, etc.

The course of treatment will only be determined after you’ve been consulted by your dentist. They will take an x-ray scan of your mouth to analyze the jawbone and teeth in order to determine what is causing your jaw pain.

If the dentist who oversees your case believes your TMJ disorder is a medical problem, they will likely advise you to seek treatment at another specialist who can provide you with the best solutions for your specific case.

How Do You Know If You Have a TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorders can create a variety of symptoms, and spotting them in time is essential to getting the condition addressed as soon as possible. Usually, people with TMJ problems can expect:

  • Jaw popping or clicking
  • Facial pains, especially near the ears
  • Difficulty talking or opening the mouth
  • Pain while chewing
  • Jaw locking, meaning you feel resistance in the jaw area when you try to open your mouth, etc.

Perkasie Dental Loft Can Help with Your TMJ

If you’re experiencing any signs of a potential TMJ disorder, Perkasie Dental Loft is here to help you access a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Book a consultation with Dr. Lindsey Cerdas today, or call our office at (267) 517-6670 to find out more about our TMJ treatments. 

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