TMJ disorders can be caused by a number of things including:
- Grinding teeth
- Misalignment of the jaw
Before TMJ can be addressed it must be diagnosed. This is done through a dental exam, and the dentist will check for unexplained noises, tenderness or problems with jaw movement.
Once diagnosed, a treatment course will be recommended. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDR) offers the following basic approaches to start:
- Using heat to soothe pain
- Abstaining from hard foods and gum
- Relaxing the jaw muscles
Other treatments that may help are:
- Using exercise techniques to increase mandibular strength
- Using a mouth guard to prevent grinding
- Using various prescription medications
In severe cases of TMJ, it may be necessary to fix alignment by addressing an uneven bite. Orthodontic approaches may also help. The final course of treatment will be determined by the dentist taking into account symptoms and causes.