What is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joints which connect the jawbone to the skull can cause pain when damaged. Patients with TMJ often feel jaw pain, have difficulty chewing, grind their teeth at night, or suffer from frequent headaches. Columbia, South Carolina dentist Dr. Tom Trinkner can diagnose and treat TMJ disorders to relieve pain and prevent further symptoms from developing. You may request a consultation with Dr. Trinkner online. If you are a new patient, call 803.400.8729. Returning patients can call Dr. Trinkner’s Columbia, SC office at 803.772.9628.

Treat TMJ in Columbia, South Carolina

What Causes TMJ?

There are several possible causes of TMJ disorders including arthritis, dislocation, injury, teeth grinding, and tooth and jaw misalignment. Dr. Trinkner will provide a diagnosis before treatment to determine the cause of your TMJ dysfunction and find a comfortable and comprehensive solution. He will check the joints and muscles of the jaw for any clicking, popping, or difficulty of movement. Depending on the severity of your TMJ disorder, Dr. Trinkner may refer you out to a dental specialist for more advanced treatment. However, there are several treatments that he offers for patients with more mild cases of TMJ.

TMJ Treatment

For patients who do not have severe symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders, there are several at-home remedies. Patients can try these treatments before moving on to more involved treatment:

  • Eating softer foods
  • Avoiding biting your nails or chewing hard foods
  • Applying heat packs to areas of pain
  • Practicing relaxation techniques to alleviate tension in the jaw

Dr. Trinkner may recommend muscle relaxants, analgesics, anti-anxiety drugs, or anti-inflammatory medications if teeth grinding and jaw pain are your main areas of concern. Patients may clench and grind their teeth when they are sleeping, so it is important to note any tooth pain, jaw popping, or headaches. These are common signs of TMJ caused by bruxism, or teeth clenching and grinding.

Mouthguards can also reduce tooth wear and bruxism. If you have an uneven bite, Dr. Trinkner may recommend bite correction therapy to reshape or adjust the bite. Orthodontic treatments such as Invisalign can also straighten crooked teeth, which are a risk factor for developing TMJ disorders.