What is TMJ?
Everyone has two temporomandibular joints, which connect the jawbone to the skull, one on each side of the jaw. When these joints become affected by TMJ, it can cause pain in the jaw and surrounding muscles.
The cause of TMJ is still unclear. Several factors could contribute, including arthritis, jaw injuries, a genetic disposition, or a tendency to clench or grind teeth.
What Are the Symptoms of TMJ?
The symptoms of TMJ can be very painful. They include:
- Jaw pain or tenderness
- Popping of the jaw
- Locking of the jaw
- Pain in the temporomandibular joints
- Earaches or pain in the surrounding area
- Tooth pain
- Difficulty chewing
- Pain while chewing
- Facial pain
How to Effectively Treat TMJ
There are several steps to treating TMJ. It will typically begin with pain relieving medications. A pain relief regimen will usually include ibuprofen and muscle relaxants. Your doctor or dentist may also have you wear occlusal appliances, which include oral splints, mouth guards, and night guards. The reason why these items work is not well understood, but many patients report decreased pain after using them.
Physical therapy is also a mainstay of any treatment for TMJ. This includes exercises to stretch and strengthen the jaw muscles, combined with moist heat and ice for soreness. Surgical procedures may be an option as a last resort when other methods don’t produce results.
An Expert to Help Diagnose and Treat Your TMJ
Acadian Dental in Houston, Texas, can help you with any dental need, including TMJ treatments. They will help you determine whether your pain is caused by TMJ and suggest an appropriate treatment plan. They specialize in jaw exercises and night guards. They also offer a full range of dental services, including cleanings, orthodontics, preventive dentistry, implants, dentures, crowns, root canals, gum disease treatments, whitenings, veneers and fillings. Contact them today to schedule an appointment!