TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is essentially a hinge connecting the jaw to the skull. The TMJ is responsible for controlling jaw and facial movement, which is why people living with a TMJ disorder often experience health problems. Continue reading to learn how to recognize the signs of a TMJ disorder and find relief from jaw pain with help from your TMJ dentist.
What Causes TMJ Pain?
Depending on your patient history, it may be difficult for your dentist to identify the exact cause of your TMJ pain. Many different factors can affect your TMJ or cause TMJ disorder to worsen.
For example, patients who have recently sustained an injury to the jaw joint are at an increased risk for
You may also be experiencing TMJ disorder because of something called bruxism, which is where you grind your teeth at night. If teeth grinding is the root cause of your TMJ disorder, you may be given a night guard for TMJ. A TMJ night guard forms a protective layer between your upper and lower teeth while you sleep, preventing bruxism.
Another possible cause of TMJ is arthritis. Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis can especially affect the TMJ because they cause joint inflammation and stiffness.
Since there are many causes of TMJ disorder, it can be difficult determining why you’re experiencing jaw pain.
If you recognize any of these common, you may want to come in and see us:
- Neck aches
- Jaw pain
- Clicking jaw joint
- Facial tenderness or pain
If you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself, we recommend seeing our TMJ specialist.
What TMJ Treatment Options are There?
If you’re not sure if what you’re experiencing is due to TMJ disorder? We recommend still scheduling an appointment with a TMJ dentist in your area. The dentist will be able to examine your teeth and take dental x-rays to see if there are any.
Most patients are able to continue living productive lives by properlysymptoms. However, if you have severe symptoms that interfere with your quality of life or notice a worsening of symptoms, you may need surgical intervention.
In the case of TMJ surgery, you will need to consult with your primary care physician to determine if TMJ surgery is the best treatment option to alleviate your symptoms. Surgery is a last-resort option after other pain management tactics have not been successful
TMJ Relief and Management Ideas
The vast majority of people living with TMJ disorder are able to manage the symptoms and pain so they can continue living normal lives. Below, we have listed our recommendations for managing your TMJ symptoms.
- Prevent teeth grinding by wearing a TMJ night guard when you sleep.
- Use muscle relaxants to calm jaw muscles.
- Try avoiding coffee and alcohol to see if your teeth grind less at night.
- Gently massage your jaw with a warm rag.
- Avoid chewing on pens, pencils, or other non-edible things.
- Decrease inflammation with low-level laser therapy.
Need a TMJ Dentist?
Your dentist should be able to recommend a TMJ treatment plan that works for your unique circumstances. To schedule your appointment with a Wyoming TMJ dentist, feel free to contact River Ridge Dentistry online or by phone at (616) 538-7320.