What are TMJ disorders?
The temporomandibular joint is the hinge that allows you to open and close your jaw. It connects your jaw to your skull on both sides. Speaking, chewing, and swallowing would not be possible without your temporomandibular joints. Some patients may experience pain in either their temporomandibular joint or the surrounding muscles, which could be a sign of a TMJ disorder. TMJ disorders can make simple daily tasks painful and difficult. TMJ disorders are more common than you might think, affecting about 15% of the population, according to the American Dental Association.
The following are common causes of TMJ disorders:
  • Grinding of teeth
  • The alignment of your teeth and jaw
  • Arthritis
  • Dislocation
  • Oral Injury
Diagnosing the cause
There are a few different ways your North Miami Beach dentist can diagnose the source of your TMJ disorder.
  • X-rays to analyze your teeth and jaw
  • CT scan to provide detailed images of the bones involved
  • MRI to reveal problems with the joint's disk or surrounding tissue
There are several therapy options to help cope with the pain and decrease the discomfort of TMJ disorders. Diagnosis is important for patients who may experience extreme tenderness in the jaw area. If left untreated, TMJ could potentially cause long-lasting damage to your teeth. Dr. Azar can properly diagnose your condition and the cause, and discuss the following treatment options:
  • Facial exercises to help gain strength within the jaw
  • Medications including muscle relaxers, anti-anxiety, and anti-inflammatory
  • Night guards to protect teeth from stress clenching or grinding of teeth
  • Surgery
In some cases, procedures may be recommended to correct a possibly irregular bite. A simple reshaping of your teeth could help reduce the discomfort of a TMJ disorder and restore the balance of pressure distributed throughout your bite, though the need for this procedure is rare. Consult with your North Miami Beach dentist to determine if this procedure would be right for you.
Ongoing treatment for TMJ
Your dentist will have to monitor your TMJ after a diagnosis just to make sure that the condition is not progressing. Using fluoride will also help protect any remaining enamel that may have been damaged by TMJ disorder. Avoid grinding teeth and consistently wear night guards if prescribed. 
If you think you may be suffering from TMJ disorder, please give our office a call to find out what your treatment options are. Schedule your next appointment today by calling us at 305-866-3030, or by filling out a contact form right on our website. Your North Miami Beach dentist looks forward to helping you heal your beautiful smile!