Questions about TMJ Disorder

Serving Brentwood, Belle Meade and Green Hills Areas of Nashville TN

When your jaw joints become misaligned, then you develop a problem known as temporomandibular joint disorder. Also known as TMJ disorder or TMD, it produces a wide array of symptoms that occur throughout the body—including chronic, debilitating pain. At TMJ and Airway Associates of Nashville, we bring your jaw and bite into ideal resting position, restoring proper function of the temporomandibular joint and providing relief for your TMJ disorder.

Approximately 10 million Americans suffer from some form of TMJ disorder, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Many of those people never have their disorder diagnosed and treated, meaning they live the rest of their lives dealing with the issues caused by TMJ disorder.

questions about tmj disorder

This disorder can be a challenge to diagnose for medical professionals, so you can imagine how it can confuse patients. To help inform, TMJ and Airway Associates of Nashville compiled this list of answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about TMJ disorder.

What causes TMJ disorder?

  • Missing teeth
  • Severely damaged teeth
  • Injury, usually sustained to the jaw, head, or neck
  • Arthritis, emanating from the temporomandibular joint
  • Bruxism, which is the clinical term for teeth grinding or clenching
  • Dislocating the disc between the ball and socket of the temporomandibular joint

What are the symptoms of TMJ disorder?

The exact symptoms of TMJ disorder vary widely.

However, sufferers regularly report the following:

  • Difficulty or discomfort while chewing
  • Ringing, stuffiness, or congestion in the ears
  • Pain in the face, teeth, mouth, neck, shoulders or jaw
  • Malocclusion, which also is known as a misaligned bite
  • Clicking or popping sound when the jaws open and close
  • Experiencing a locked jaw or limited range of motion in the jaws

Another common symptom of TMJ disorder is frequent, painful headaches, which may be misdiagnosed as migraines. These headaches may feel like migraines or be of migraine-like intensity, but they do not respond as well to standard migraine treatments. Learn more about how TMJ disorder leads to painful headaches, or explore the difference between TMJ headaches and migraines.

Generally speaking, severe pain is reportedly an ongoing symptom of TMJ disorder because the temporomandibular joint is located close to the trigeminal nerve. When the temporomandibular joint becomes unbalanced or irritated, it compresses the trigeminal nerve, transmitting pain to the head, neck, or back.

Here is a complete breakdown of the symptoms related to TMJ disorder.

Why choose a physiological dentist?

Dr. Brian Devine practices physiological dentistry. This means he has the knowledge and training to evaluate the alignment of the bite and jaw, and how they interact. He uses his unique training, in combination with some of the latest technological advances available in dental science, to provide an accurate diagnosis for TMJ disorder.

Dr. Devine examines your jaws and temporomandibular joint for possible pain and tenderness and how your bite comes together. One valuable tool in the diagnostic process is the BioPAK system, which evaluates various parameters of the stomatognathic system that include the skull, dental arches, jaws, soft tissues of the mouth, and temporomandibular joint.

How is TMJ disorder treated?

TMJ and Airway Associates of Nashville prefer to treat TMJ disorder through oral appliance therapy. A custom-made oral appliance is fabricated using impressions and digital scans of your mouth and teeth. When worn, the oral appliance applies gentle forward pressure, guiding your jaws into their preferred alignment and resolving the stress being placed on the temporomandibular joint. Once the TMJ has been treated, issues caused by the disorder—such as pain—also will be resolved.

TMJ Treatment in Nashville

Make no mistake – if you or someone you love has TMJ disorder, the only way to obtain lasting relief is to seek a diagnosis and proper treatment. TMJ disorder will not get better or go away on its own. If you have been diagnosed with TMJ disorder or think you may suffer from this ailment, get the relief you deserve. Call TMJ and Airway Associates of Nashville today at (615) 329-1854 to schedule a consultation.

TMJ and Airway Associates of Nashville serve patients in Middle Tennessee, including Belle Meade and Green Hills.