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TMJ Disorders

The temporomandibular joint (also known as the TMJ) is the joint that attaches the jaw bone to the rest of the skull. The TMJ allows your jaw to open, close, and move side to side smoothly. When a person suffers from a TMJ disorder, they can experience discomfort or difficulty when using their jaw to eat, speak, or smile.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from a TMJ disorder:

  • Difficulty opening the mouth wide
  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw or in front of the ears when using the jaw
  • Difficulty eating food normally
  • Popping or clicking sounds when opening or closing the mouth
  • Tightness around the jaw or tension causing the jaw to snap open or closed
  • Ringing in the ears or ear pain
  • Headaches or dizziness

Oral surgeons are trained to diagnose and treat TMJ disorders. In some cases, a TMJ disorder can be treated without surgical intervention, but in more severe cases jaw surgery may be able to relieve the discomfort associated with TMJ issues. TMJ disorders can seriously affect your quality of life, so contact one of our offices if you notice any of the above symptoms.

Causes of TMJ Disorders

The cause of TMJ disorders in not always clear, but some factors can contribute to a person developing TMJ problems. Understanding the cause of a TMJ disorder can sometimes make it easier to treat. Some of the most common causes of TMJ disorders include

  • Untreated facial or jaw injuries
  • Excessive jaw clenching or tooth grinding
  • Arthritis
  • Displaced or perforated joint disk

When TMJ is caused by excessive tooth grinding or clenching, wearing a nightguard and avoiding unnecessary clenching of the jaw can relieve TMJ issues. In other cases, oral surgeons can perform surgery to relieve the stress on the jaw joint. Our oral surgeons can perform an oral exam and consultation to diagnose your jaw pain and help you form a treatment plan. Contact one of our offices in Sioux Falls, SD, Mitchell, SD, Yankton, SD, or Brookings, SD, today to start moving towards treatment.