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Chronic pain the face, jaw or neck, along with headaches and ringing in the ears could indicate that you have TMJ syndrome. A dentist who has undergone specialized training in diagnosing and treating this condition can help you. If you suspect that you are suffering from TMJ disorder, give our office a call. We provide outstanding TMJ therapy in Sweetwater and can educate you on the types of treatments we have available to relieve you of your pain and discomfort.
What Is TMJ Syndrome?
TMJ disorders (TMD) impact the jaw joint, known as the temporomandibular joint. This joint attaches your lower jaw to the skull. It is located on both sides of the head, in front of the ears. The joint works just like a sliding hinge, allowing your jaw to open and close when you eat or speak. There is cartilage that covers the bones, and a small disk provides separation between the bones so that your mouth can open and close in a smooth manner.
TMD causes pain in the temporomandibular joint and in the muscles around the joint. While women tend to be more likely to develop TMD, men can also suffer from the condition.
What Are the Primary Causes Behind TMJ Disorder?
It is difficult to determine exactly what causes problems in the temporomandibular joint. Sometimes they develop because of grinding or clenching the teeth. Pain associated with TMD tends to occur when the joint or cartilage becomes damaged, or when the disk erodes or moves out of its proper alignment.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of TMD?
There are several signs and symptoms that may indicate that you have TMD. Pain or tenderness located in the area around your jaw joints is one of the most common symptoms associated with TMD. If you are experiencing aches in and around your ears, you may have TMD.
Following are some of the most common symptoms experienced by our patients with TMD.
- Teeth that have become misaligned due to the shifting of the jaw
- Jaw muscles that are stiff
- Popping or clicking noises around the joint
- Trouble chewing
- Aching in the neck or face
- Swollen jaw
- Limited jaw movements
- Jaw joints locking
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, pick up the phone today and schedule a consultation with one of our specialists.
How Will My TMD Be Treated?
If you have TMD, you may be able to treat it with at-home remedies. For instance, eating soft foods, limiting your jaw movements and doing exercises that stretch the jaw can help you in treating TMD. You can also apply ice to reduce any swelling you are experiencing. Eliminating stress that may be causing you to grind or clench your teeth can also help you treat your TMD. You should also avoid eating tough foods such as beef jerky.
When at-home remedies don’t seem to be addressing your issues, you may need help from a professional. Our dentists can recommend or prescribe various medications or treatments for TMD to provide you with TMJ relief. Ibuprofen and corticosteroids can assist in getting rid of pain and swelling, while Valium can relax your jaw muscles. Our dentists may also recommend that you begin to wear a night guard or a stabilization splint to prevent you from grinding or clenching your teeth.
In severe cases, your dentist may recommend that you receive TMJ surgery or some other corrective procedure. Corrective bite treatment that aligns your teeth may be recommended. If we find that fluid and debris are present in your joints, we might suggest that you have an arthrocentesis done to remove it. As a last resort, we may prescribe jaw joint replacement in order to provide you with a TMJ cure.
Who Can Diagnose TMJ Disorders?
Since standardized tests for TMD aren’t available, you should see a TMJ specialist to officially diagnose you with TMD. At our practice, your jaw will be thoroughly examined by one of our specialists. We will look for any painful areas, swelling, tenderness and range-of-motion issues to find out what the source of the problem may be. Our dentist may also take X-rays or utilize other kinds of imaging tests to see the structure of your jaw more clearly.
If you believe you may need to get TMJ therapy in Sweetwater, give us a call at (321) 594-2628 as soon as possible to schedule an appointment.