SHOULD I BE WORRIED ABOUT TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DISORDER?
While you talk, eat, and stretch your mouth, you are using your temporomandibular joints (TMJ). These joints are where your lower jaw is joined to your skull and the hinge movement allows your jaw to open and close. In a perfect world, your TMJs are aligned and working as they should all the time; nonetheless, some people have serious issues with their jaw. Also referred to as TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder), TMJ disorder can occur as constant pain in your jaw to problems when opening and closing your mouth.
HOW DO I IDENTIFY THE CAUSES OF TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DISORDER?
Temporomandibular joint disorder happens when a significant amount of physical stress is placed on and around the jaw joints. This may be a consequence of arthritis an uneven bite (dental malocclusion), bruxism (grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw), along with a bone disease or a tumor within your jaw. There are currently many clinical studies attempting to determine the exact cause of TMJ disorder. Research has identified that TMJ disorder is more common in women, specifically between the ages of 20 – 40 years old.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DISORDER?
Part of the most typical symptoms of TMJ disorder are jaw pain, headaches, and odd noises when opening or closing your mouth. In the event that you have one or several of the signs of TMJ disorder identified below, make an appointment with a dentist in Monaca, PA whenever possible for diagnosis and treatment.
- SWELLING IN YOUR LOWER FACE
One of the most visible symptoms of TMJ disorder is swelling along your jaw and throughout your lower face. The inflammation associated with TMJ disorder could make the lower portion of your face appear puffy and swollen, especially across your jaw area.
- CHRONIC HEADACHES
If you have chronic headaches or migraines and a doctor is unable to identify a cause, you might ask your dentist to assess your jaw. Migraines are common with TMJ disorder, which may be caused by teeth grinding and jaw clenching.
- YOUR JAW IS TEMPORARILY STUCK
When you feel like the Tin Man fighting to open his mouth to ask for his oil can, you could have TMJ disorder. Your jaw might be difficult to open and/or close, which makes eating and speaking very difficult. In some people, the jaw may get locked for a period of time.
- NOISES WHEN YOU OPEN YOUR JAW
At the times when you open or close your jaw, can you observe a popping or clicking noise? This may be the result of a displaced disc in your jaw. The dislocated disc hinders jaw movement and can cause your jaw getting stuck.
- TENDER MUSCLES IN THE JAW
Clenching your jaw, either at night or in the day, could cause sore jaw muscles. When your jaw muscles feel tender or sore even though you haven't been smiling or speaking a great deal, it could be a side effect of TMJ disorder.
- JAW OR EAR PAIN
The majority of patients with TMJ disorder will complain about some level of pain in the jaw. This may be mild or severe relying on your condition, but it will be chronic. Many patients also identify pain in their ears. The TMJ is in close proximity to the ears, so the swelling is likely to spread and feel much like an earache. If your primary physician has ruled out an ear infection, ask your Monaca, PA dentist to assess for TMJ disorder.
HOME TMD THERAPIES
- RELAXATION THERAPIES
If your jaw muscles feel sore, you may try relaxation techniques, including meditation or mindfulness. Talk to your Monaca, PA dentist about relaxation methods that can help soften your jaw muscles and eliminate some symptoms of your TMJ disorder.
- CONSUMING LIQUIDS OR SOFT FOODS
TMJ could make it difficult to bite and chew solid foods, so a majority of people with TMJ disorder find some alleviation by following a liquid or soft foods diet. This treatment is usually better for short-term use when you are waiting to obtain a diagnosis from your dentist as it can be tricky to consume enough nourishment from only liquids and soft foods.
- JAW STRENGTHENING TECHNIQUES
As well as relaxation therapies, your dentist may give you exercises to do at home that will help strengthen your jaw muscles. Jaw strengthening exercises may help stretch your muscles to lessen the stiffness connected to TMJ disorder.
- OVER-THE-COUNTER PAIN MEDICATIONS
For brief relief of jaw pain because of TMJ disorder, you may decide to take non-prescription pain relievers. Over-the-counter pain relievers may help if your jaw is swollen, sore, or tender; nevertheless, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist in Monaca, PA to talk about long-term treatments.
PROFESSIONAL TMD THERAPIES
- BOTOX INJECTIONS
Even though most people identify BOTOX injections as a way to diminish wrinkles, it has many medical uses. Utilizing a purified form of botulism, BOTOX injections can be placed in the jaw to temporarily relax the muscles. BOTOX injections should be done by a skilled dentist in Monaca, PA and you will need to acquire them every few months to maintain benefits.
- NIGHT MOUTH GUARD
For individuals who grind their teeth and clench their jaw throughout the night, a night guard can help treat TMJ disorder. Night guards can be purchased online and in stores, but for the highest level relief and comfort, it is better to get a custom night guard produced by a dentist in Monaca, PA. Made from digital or physical dental impressions, a custom-made night guard protects your teeth from grinding and keeps your jaw relaxed while you sleep.
- PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION
Depending on the cause of your TMJ disorder, a dentist in Monaca, PA might prescribe a prescription medication for pain, anxiety, or inflammation. Once your dentist diagnoses the cause of your TMJ disorder, they may write a prescription for a medication to help diminish swelling and relax your jaw muscles or diminish your pain.
ALLEVIATE JAW PAIN WITH TMJ REMEDIES
When you have pain in your jaw and other side effects of TMJ disorder, set up an appointment with your dentist in Monaca, PA to receive a diagnosis and treatment. At DentalWorks - Beaver Valley, we offer night guards and other TMJ treatments to adhere to the needs of our patients in Monaca, PA. Get in touch with our office in Monaca, PA to set up an examination and consultation so we can build your custom TMJ disorder treatment plan.