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Posted on: March 3, 2023
You Could Have TMJ Disorder
Perhaps you are familiar with temporomandibular joint disorder, better known as TMJ disorder. It’s a common dental condition involving the joints that hold your lower jaw to your skull. You count on your temporomandibular joints every day when you yawn, eat, or speak. Unfortunately, these joints may develop problems that can lead to uncomfortable symptoms in your jaw, head, and neck areas. You might even be suffering from a TMJ disorder right now. TMJ disorder symptoms like pain, stiffness, and soreness are something to talk to your dentist in Dalton about.
This jaw disorder may have multiple causes. Some people experience TMJ because of an injury to their mouths, a chronic habit of teeth grinding, or stress-induced jaw clenching. The condition can run in families, and it might be influenced by the natural alignment of your teeth. For many patients, TMJ disorders result from a mix of these diverse factors. Understanding what’s causing a particular case of TMJ disorder can help a dentist determine an effective treatment plan.
TMJ Disorder Signs and Symptoms
By getting to know the signs of TMJ disorder, you can start to get an idea of whether this condition may be affecting you. Keep an eye out for issues, such as:
- Jaw aches and pains that may also affect the shoulders, face, or neck
- A feeling that your jaw is stiff or locked
- Strange noises when you open or close your mouth, such as grinding or popping sounds
- Small range of jaw motion, which can make it hard to talk, eat, or yawn comfortably
- Biting and chewing problems, especially when eating crunchy items
- Ringing in the ears (also known as tinnitus)
- Regular headaches
See your dentist in Dalton for an exam if you are experiencing some of these symptoms. During your visit, the dentist will chat with you about your symptoms, take your medical history, and give your jaw area a close look. You might have X-rays taken too so that your dentist can see what’s going on underneath the surface. After performing a thorough exam, your dentist may give you a diagnosis of temporomandibular joint disorder and start discussing treatment options.
TMJ Disorder Interventions
What is causing your TMJ disorder symptoms? How severe are they? Those are questions that your dentist will keep in mind when developing a treatment plan for you. Each person’s situation is different, so treatment plans are customized for the patient. There may be surgical or non-surgical interventions included in your regimen. Lifestyle adjustments are commonly used in TMJ disorder treatment plans. Medication and physical therapy may be important for some patients as well. By following the advice your dentist provides, you might be able to manage your pain, stiffness, and other TMJ disorder symptoms and reverse the course of this disorder.
Addressing TMJ Disorder Without Surgery
Your dentist might advise you on steps you can take to treat your TMJ disorder without undergoing surgery. For example, you might benefit from sessions with a physical therapist. The exercises could strengthen your muscles and help you open your mouth more easily. Taking anti-inflammatory medicine might help you manage your symptoms as well. A medication regimen can bring down the swelling in your jaw and reduce the amount of pain that you experience on a daily basis.
In addition, here are some lifestyle changes that may support your recovery efforts:
- Staying away from crunchy or hard foods, which often require lots of chewing
- Trying not to open too wide when you yawn or sing
- Avoiding biting your nails or chewing on pencils
- Reducing your stress level through meditation, yoga, mindfulness practice, or other calming activities
Dental Treatment for TMJ Disorders
As a next step in your treatment process, your dentist might suggest using an oral splint, which is like a mouthguard that covers some of your teeth. The purpose of your TMJ splint might be to adjust how you bite, keep you from grinding your teeth, or relieve pressure on your jaw. A splint is usually a short-term solution, but orthodontic treatment is an approach that could have long-lasting effects. Your dentist may have you set up an appointment with an orthodontist to discuss braces, retainers, or other orthodontic appliances. The goal would be to permanently fix the alignment of your jaw and teeth. After completing your orthodontic treatment, your mouth should feel better and function more effectively.
If other treatments aren’t sufficient for correcting your severe TMJ disorder problems, then you might be a good candidate for surgery. For patients who are experiencing a lot of inflammation, having the fluid drained from the joints could help. In select cases, it might be worth considering the idea of replacing your natural joints with artificial ones.
Your dentist in Dalton is available to help with your TMJ concerns. It’s always best to consult a professional if you suspect that you might have a TMJ disorder. This problem can have serious underlying causes that should be diagnosed by a dentist. A dental professional can also offer effective treatment strategies to reduce symptoms and prevent further development of the condition.
TMJ disorder are both common and complex. Multiple factors can play a role; they include chronic stress, bruxism, jaw injuries and inherited traits. A dentist can sort through the many factors contributing to this condition and provide advice for relieving symptoms like jaw aches, pains and stiffness. With a professional treatment plan in place, you may start to see a marked improvement in your oral health.
You can count on your dentist in Dalton for all of your oral health needs, including treatment for temporomandibular joint disorder. Our office specializes in providing personalized care for oral health concerns. You can talk to our team about symptom management and treatment plans. Call today to schedule your appointment with our dental professionals for TMJ disorder care or any oral health needs.