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The temporomandibular joints that hinge your jaws are sophisticated ball and socket joints. They work together with the ligaments and muscles in your jaw, allowing you to open your mouth, chew food, and speak. Aches, pains, or other jaw problems are more commonly referred to as the TMJ disorder.

Early symptoms of the TMJ disorder often include a persistent dull ache near your temples and pain when opening and closing your mouth.

Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, can cause soreness in the jaw muscles and inflammation in one or both of your temporomandibular joints. This can significantly increase your chances of developing the TMJ disorder. Other potential sources could also include a past dislocation in one or both joints, arthritis or general inflammation issues.

Your dentist, Dr. , commonly recommends a two-stage treatment strategy.

At first, the treatment focuses on modifying basic lifestyle choices. This might include eating softer foods, taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication and using heat packs to relax muscle tension.

If Dr. believes your TMJ disorder is related to teeth grinding, he might prescribe you a custom night guard. The night guard fits comfortably in your mouth and allows enough slip that the muscles don’t lock up. It also helps protect the biting surfaces of your teeth.

If lifestyle modification and a night guard still don’t provide relief to your symptoms, Dr. will likely recommend a more advanced measure. This might involve using prescribed anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxers or rehabilitation exercises.

If these measures don’t provide effective relief, then Dr. might refer you to an oral surgeon to explore surgical intervention.

If you have questions or concerns about TMJ disorder in Chandler, Arizona, you should call Fountains Family Dental Center at 480-359-1483 to schedule an appointment.