Does your jaw click and hurt when you open your mouth or yawn? Do you have unexplained headaches and discomfort radiating from your jaw up to your ear? If you suffer from any of these telltale signs and symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder, then you may be part of the 15 percent of Americans who share this condition with you. While the causes of TMJ vary from person to person, stress is often a major factor in the progression of this disorder. For our patients who struggle with TMJ, we here at ZenTech Dentistry offer TMJ Therapy to help you finally get relief from this painful condition.
What Does TMJ Therapy Include?
If you’ve been under much stress lately, and you’re noticing pain in your jaw, then there’s a good chance that you’re suffering from TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder is sometimes hard to detect, but tenderness around your jawline, pain in your face, clicking when you move your mouth, and unexplained ear pain can all be caused by TMJ.
Many people may try to address their TMJ disorder at home by making lifestyle changes and modifications. These can be helpful but are no replacement for care from us at our office. Eating soft foods, avoiding chewing gum and excessively chewy foods and candies, meditation, and warm compresses can provide a little bit of relief, but they only mask the symptoms.
During your appointment at our office, we will thoroughly assess your mouth and jaw and take note of all of your symptoms. If you’re noticing clicking or popping, we’ll listen for the same sound during your exam. We may also visually examine you to see what your range of motion is. During your appointment, we might press against your neck and jaw to see where the pain is coming from. Once we do all of this, we’ll have a better understanding of your disorder and how to proceed with treatment.
Depending on what we learn, we may suggest a variety of treatment options. This can include pain relievers or muscle relaxants. Occasionally antidepressants may be prescribed, as they have been demonstrated to be beneficial for those who have TMJ disorder. Other options for treatment include physical therapy or nighttime mouth guards (which are better known as oral splints or occlusive devices). This can help reduce clenching and grinding your teeth at night.
In extreme cases, we may advise surgery to help relieve your symptoms of TMJ disorder. These procedures can include open-joint surgery or arthrocentesis, which involves irrigating the joint with fluid to wash out anything that may be irritating it. Sometimes injections like Botox or steroid injections can help our patients by relaxing the area to prevent further discomfort.
If you suspect that you have TMJ disorder, it’s important that you call us right away for a diagnosis. The sooner we’re able to identify your problem, the sooner we can get you started on treatment and put a stop to your pain. For more information about TMJ, or to schedule a consultation for TMJ, please give us here at ZenTech Dentistry a call today at (503) 765-9699.