TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is essentially a hinge connecting the jaw to the skull. The TMJ is also responsible for controlling jaw and facial movement, which is why people living with TMJ often experience health problems. Continue reading to learn how to recognize the signs of a TMJ disorder and find relief from jaw pain. If you suspect an issue with your jaw, we recommend you schedule an appointment with our TMJ dentist as soon as possible.
Know What Causes TMJ Pain
Depending on your patient history, it may be difficult for your dentist to identity the exact cause of your TMJ pain. There are many different factors which affect the 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 teeth grinding or even 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.
Recognize the Symptoms
- 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. 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 problems with your jaw joint.
Seek TMJ Treatment
Most patients are able to continue living productive lives by properly managing TMJ symptoms. 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 that case, you would 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 failed.
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.
- Decrease inflammation with low-level laser therapy.
Your dentist will be able to recommend a TMJ treatment plan that works for your unique circumstances. For example, if nighttime 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.