Dentists don’t just help you manage your smile; they can also assist you with troubling problems such as TMJ disorder. While this condition can be painful, it usually resolves by itself. However, there are times when the pain doesn’t abate after a few days, and that is when you should get checked out.
In this article, we will learn a little more about TMJ disorders and what options are available if you suffer from this health complaint.
What is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects the jaw to the skull. We have one on either side of our mouths, and TMJ disorders occur when there is some form of injury or damage to the surrounding the teeth.
These injuries can occur as a result of whiplash or a head injury. However, they can also come about due to the tension associated with stress or if you tend to clench or grind your teeth.
What Are the Symptoms?
TMJ disorders can sometimes be distinguished by a clicking or popping sound in the jaw joints. But many other symptoms can indicate a TMJ disorder, these include:
- Pain in the jaw, the TMJ joints, and surrounding facial muscles
- Ear pain
- Pain when chewing
- Facial swelling
- Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
It is also possible to get headaches or migraines as a result of TMJ tension.
The pain associated with TMJ disorders can be quite painful and can be similar to other conditions. Therefore, if you are in discomfort, you should consult your dentist to see if they think you need a checkup.
When to See Your Dentist
We recommend seeing a dentist regularly, as a general evaluation will show whether you are at risk of developing a TMJ disorder. The dentist will be able to identify signs of wear and tear, gum recession, and other related problems.
If the dentist doesn’t notice any significant damage to the joints or the jaw itself, he will recommend some conservative treatments such as:
- Applying heat or cold packs
- Stretching exercises
- Taking anti-inflammatory medicines
- Avoiding hard, crunchy and chewy foods
A combination of the above, alongside relaxation techniques, should relieve the symptoms, and your dentist will monitor the situation closely.
In some cases, night guards can be a useful tool for reducing symptoms, which is particularly the case when the disorder is a result of teeth grinding. If the symptoms don’t improve over the course of a few months, surgery may be an option.
TMJ disorders can be very painful, but the good news is that they are manageable.
It is important to get prompt treatment and follow any lifestyle changes that the dentist recommends. Even if you haven’t had any symptoms, if you often grind your teeth, you might be at risk of developing TMJ disorders later in life. So call us today for a TMJ evaluation and let us help you beat the pain.