SHOULD I BE WORRIED ABOUT TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DISORDER?
As 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 great all the time; nonetheless, some people have serious problems with their jaw. Also referred to as TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder), TMJ disorder can occur as constant pain in your jaw to difficulty opening and closing your mouth.
HOW DO I IDENTIFY THE CAUSES OF TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DISORDER?
Temporomandibular joint disorder is caused when a significant amount of physical stress is placed on and around the jaw joints. This may be the result 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 trying to determine the exact cause of TMJ disorder. Research has identified that TMJ disorder is more common in women, particularly 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 unusual noises when opening or closing your mouth. In the event that you have one or more of the signs of TMJ disorder identified below, make an appointment with a dentist in Macedonia, OH 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 look puffy and swollen, especially across your jaw area.
- 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.
- 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 temporarily.
- 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.
- JAW OR EAR PAIN
Most 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 Macedonia, OH dentist to assess for TMJ disorder.
- 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 inhibits jaw movement and can cause your jaw getting stuck.
HOME TMD THERAPIES
- RELAXATION THERAPIES
If your jaw muscles feel sore, you may try relaxation techniques, including meditation or mindfulness. Talk to your Macedonia, OH dentist about relaxation methods that can help soften your jaw muscles and eliminate some symptoms of your TMJ disorder.
- LIQUID OR SOFT FOOD DIET
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 get a diagnosis from your dentist as it can be difficult to consume adequate nourishment from only liquids and soft foods.
- OVER-THE-COUNTER PAIN MEDICATIONS
For short-term relief of jaw pain caused by 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 Macedonia, OH to talk about long-term treatments.
- JAW STRENGTHENING EXERCISES
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 alleviate the stiffness connected to TMJ disorder.
PROFESSIONAL TMD THERAPIES
- PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION
Depending on the cause of your TMJ disorder, a dentist in Macedonia, OH 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 reduce swelling and relax your jaw muscles or diminish your pain.
- 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 maximum relief and comfort, it is better to get a custom night guard produced by a dentist in Macedonia, OH. 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.
- BOTOX INJECTIONS
Even though most people identify BOTOX injections as a way to diminish wrinkles, it has several 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 performed by a skilled dentist in Macedonia, OH and you will need to receive them every few months to maintain benefits.
END JAW PAIN WITH TMJ REMEDIES
When you have pain in your jaw or other side effects of TMJ disorder, set up an appointment with your dentist in Macedonia, OH to get a diagnosis and treatment. At DentalWorks - Macedonia, we offer night guards and other TMJ treatments to adhere to the needs of our patients in Macedonia, OH. Get in touch with our office in Macedonia, OH to set up an examination and consultation so we can create your custom TMJ disorder treatment plan.