What Causes TMJ to Flare Up?

Are you concerned that you might have a TMJ disorder? At Red Oak Family Dentistry in McKinney, TX, we are dedicated to providing you with the best treatment options and care for your TMJ. Here, we’ll discuss what TMJ is, how we treat it, and what causes TMJ to flare up.

What Is TMJ?

TMJ refers to disorders that affect the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) in your mouth, which connects your jawbone to your skull. You have one joint on each side of your jaw and it acts like a sliding hinge. Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders include pain or tenderness of your jaw, in the temporomandibular joints, in your face, and in and around your ear. You may also experience difficulty chewing or pain while chewing, and even locking of the joint which can make it difficult to open or close your mouth. It can be difficult to determine what causes your TMJ, but the pain can be the result of a number of different factors such as a jaw injury, arthritis, bruxism (teeth grinding), and even genetics.

What Causes TMJ to Flare Up?

There are a number of things that cause TMJ to flare up. If you are particularly stressed, you may clench or grind your teeth at night and during the day. This can put pressure on the temporomandibular joint and cause pain or even injury to the jaw. Hard foods, such as pretzels and hard candies, and sticky or chewy foods, like caramel or taffy, can also cause TMJ to flare up. When chewing on something hard or sticky, your temporomandibular joint works over time and pressure on the jaw. An injury to the jaw could also cause your TMJ to flare up. This could be something like an elbow to the face during a sporting event or a bad fall that affects your temporomandibular joint. You can even cause your TMJ to flare up if you open your mouth too wide and it pops or even becomes locked.

What Are Treatment Options for TMJ?

At Red Oak Family Dentistry, we’ll help you determine the best treatment plan for your TMJ. First, we’ll evaluate your jaw problems using a series of tests to determine whether your pain is caused by TMJ and if you have the disorder. Based on your specific needs and issues, we’ll create an individualized treatment plan to help alleviate the pain caused by TMJ disorder, including medications (such as anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers), therapies (such as mouth guards and physical therapies), and even surgery and other procedures (such as arthrocentesis, injections, and arthroscopy) if the issues is severe enough.

Call our McKinney, Texas office for more information and to schedule a consultation.

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