Do you experience chronic pain in your jaw, face or neck? Is this pain accompanied by frequent headaches or ringing in your ears? If so, you may have a TMJ disorder. In order to properly diagnose this kind of condition, you need to see a dentist with the right kind of training. To learn more about how your pain can be relieved, visit our office to find out more about our options for TMJ therapy in the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex.
What Can You Tell Me About TMJ Disorder?
The temporomandibular joint is where the lower jaw is attached to your skull on each side of the head, in front of your ears. The temporomandibular joint functions like a hinge, enabling your mouth to open and close during eating and speaking. The bones themselves are covered with cartilage and a little disk separates the bones from one another, providing smooth movement in the jaw.
Disorders of the temporomandibular joint cause pain in the joint and the muscles that assist your jaw in moving and functioning properly. It is estimated that millions of people have some kind of TMJ (TMD) problem. While women are more likely than men to have this problem, it can occur in people of any gender or age.
What Causes TMJ Disorders?
The cause behind TMD is hard to determine because disorders can develop due to a number of factors. Some of the contributing factors to TMD include genetics, arthritis, birth defects and jaw injuries. If you frequently grind or clench your teeth, you may be more likely to develop TMD. However, not everyone who clenches or grinds their teeth develops this disorder, so it is difficult to know whether that is the primary cause. Pain caused by TMD typically happens when the cartilage or joint are damaged, or the disk slips out of alignment or begins to erode.
What Are the Symptoms of TMJ Syndrome?
There are a variety of symptoms that can indicate that a person has TMD. Most people report feeling jaw tenderness or pain, which is most frequently felt around the joints. In addition to joint pain, many patients report that they feel an ache both around and in the ears. The symptoms listed below are common signs of TMD.
- Stiff jaw muscles
- Difficulty chewing
- Swelling in the jaw
- Joints that lock
- Limited movements in the jaw
- Aching or pain in the face or neck
- A clicking or popping noise in the joint
- Misaligned teeth caused by shifting of the jaw
If you have any of these symptoms, you should seek out TMJ relief as soon as possible. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment with a knowledgeable TMJ specialist.
How Are TMJ Disorders Treated?
Most patients can treat their TMD using at-home remedies. Sticking to soft foods, reducing jaw movement and using jaw-stretching exercises are all things that you can do to treat TMD. Ice can be applied to the area to cut down on swelling. In addition, reducing the amount of stress you may be experiencing can help to prevent you from grinding or clenching your teeth. If you have TMD, you must avoid chewing on such tough foods as beef jerky.
If at-home remedies do not help to improve your condition, you should seek professional treatment. At our practice, our team of experienced dentists can suggest over-the-counter medications or prescribe something that will give you relief. We often prescribe corticosteroids or ibuprofen to assist in relieving swelling and pain. Valium is another commonly prescribed medication, as it can help to relax your jaw muscles. Bite guards or stabilization splints may be recommended to stop teeth grinding.
In rare instances, TMJ surgery or another procedure may be required to address your TMD. We may recommend corrective bite treatment to align your teeth. If the dentist finds that there is fluid in or around your joint, we may recommend arthrocentesis to drain it. Jaw joint replacement is a last-resort TMJ cure that could be necessary. This is only recommended in severe cases of TMD.
Who Can I See to Diagnose a TMD?
If you believe you have TMJ syndrome, you should visit a TMJ specialist for proper diagnosis. Our skilled dental specialists will inspect your jaw for painful areas, tenderness, poor range of motion and swelling. This examination will help to determine the cause of your problem. X-rays and other imaging tests may also be utilized so the dentist can see your jaw structure.
Pick up the phone today and schedule your consultation for TMJ therapy in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex.