Is the first thing you feel when you wake up a sore jaw? Do you find it difficult to eat many of the foods you once ate and enjoyed with ease? Does the mere movement of your mouth leave you with excruciating pain? If so, you may have what is known as TMJ or TMD. Fern Creek Dentistry can help.
Am I at Risk for TMJ/TMD?
Anyone who has suffered a facial injury or jaw trauma is at risk for developing TMJ. These types of injuries can cause small tears in the joints that may have a hard time healing because of constant movement. Dislocating your jaw or whiplash can also cause these tears. Individuals who are under stress are at risk. This is because those who are stressed are at a greater risk of nighttime bruxism, or teeth grinding and clenching.
The forces exerted on your teeth and jaws can eventually wear out the joints. Those with bruxism for other reasons, such as misalignment, are also at risk. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, which can cause jaw inflammation, your risk is higher. You may also be at risk if you have poor posture in your neck and upper back. Poor posture can put strain on the jaw muscles, leading to irritation of the joints.
How Do I Know if I Have TMJ/TMD?
One of the biggest indications of TMJ is pain in the actual temporomandibular joints. These joints are located on each side of your face. They are located where your upper and lower jaws connect. You may also notice swelling around this region of your face. In addition to the discomfort at the joints, you may also notice that eating, especially foods that are hard, crunchy, or chewy, is more difficult or painful. You might have trouble opening your mouth as wide as you once did. There may be clicking and popping when you move your mouth. Some individuals with TMJ also experience what is known as temporary lockjaw, a condition in which their jaw becomes temporarily immobile.
Can I Treat TMJ/TMD on My Own?
In some cases, TMJ is treatable without any professional intervention. This will depend upon how severe your TMJ is. Typically, those with mild TMJ will see the most success with home treatments, which might include massaging your jaw or changing your diet. If you want to try home remedies for your TMJ first, we can help to provide you with suggestions.
Dental Treatments for TMJ/TMD
If home remedies do not help, or if your TMJ is more significant, dental treatment may be necessary. One way that we can help with your TMJ is with a custom mouthguard. This is a device that is commonly used to treat bruxism. It functions to absorb the forces of grinding and clenching, keeping the force off of your teeth, jaws, and joints. Botox injections can also help in cases of bruxism. If your TMJ is very severe, or you have not found success with other treatments, then oral surgery might be suggested. There are a few different types of surgical procedures that can help. We can help to determine the best treatment for you.
If your jaws and temporomandibular joints are causing you significant pain, we can help. For more information, call Fern Creek Dentistry at (704) 380-9555 today.