Temporomandibular Disorder (TMJ) Treatment
TMJ is in fact a series of several disorders that directly affect the jaw joints and muscles ability to chew properly. The pain may vary from minor discomfort in the form of slight clicking to popping sensations when the mouth is open or closed.
Some patients experience chronic pain extending into the face, neck and shoulders. However, the discomfort resulting from TMJ is usually occasional and not permanent, sometimes occurring in a series of cycles.
Generally the pain goes away with little to no treatment. As of yet, no one knows for sure how many patients have TMJ, the disorders seem to affect more women than men.
Read more about how Northern Kentucky Dental can help with TMJ in our blog.
All the exact causes for TMJ are not yet known, here we have provided a list of believed causes that contribute to the disorder:
- Head trauma
- Head or neck injuries
- Lost teeth and arthritis within the jaw joint
- Misaligned or unstable bites that prevent the muscles from functioning properly
- Jaw muscles that cannot properly function resulting in spasms
- Mental or physical stress can increase the symptoms of discomfort associated with TMJ
- Grinding or clenching the teeth can tire the jaw muscles leading to pain and discomfort
- Frequent Headaches
Symptoms of TMJ
- Tenderness in the jaw muscles
- Popping or clicking noises while opening or closing the mouth
- Facial or jaw pain
- Pain or difficulty opening the mouth
- Ringing in the ears
- Frequent headaches
- Jaw sticking or locking up
- Pain in our around the ear
Your Northern Kentucky Dental professional will use a series of X-rays of your teeth and jaw to help determine whether or not the discomfort you may be experiencing is in fact the result of a dental problem. If so, treatment is available to improve the alignment of your bite which may include the application of dental crowns or the reformation of tooth surfaces. If your problem is is not dental in nature, your Toronto Dentist may refer you to an orthodontist, oral surgeon, medical doctor, physical therapist or mental health professional. Other types of pain have been known to mimic the symptoms of TMJ and so a complete dental and medical examination is important in achieving an accurate diagnosis.
Early detection is crucial in the process of eliminating the discomfort caused by TMJ. Here a Northern Kentucky Dental, we are sure to keep up with the latest research and techniques to effectively alleviate TMJ symptoms. There are several options of treatment available. Your Dentist will sit down and discuss with you which options are best suited to your individual needs. For example, patients who exhibit teeth grinding can be provided with a custom- made guard to separate the upper and lower teeth for either daytime wear or while you sleep. In rare cases, surgery may be used to correct a TMJ disorder. However, surgery is generally the last option of treatment after all other forms have failed to prove successful.
Some short term solutions may include the following:
- Prescription and nonprescription medication
- Ice packs or heat packs to help ease the symptoms
- Switching to a softer diet
- Avoiding consuming ice and chewing gum
- Cutting food into smaller pieces to help alleviate stress on the jaw
- Muscle stretching relaxation exercises