Your smile shouldn’t make you wince—let Tedford Family Dentistry in Ooltewah stop the pain and get your jaw back in working order.
There are many problems that can occur when your temporomandibular joint, or jaw joint, becomes swollen, damaged, or misaligned. Since some types of TMJ disorders can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important.Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you experience jaw soreness or stiffness?
- Do you experience frequent headaches or neck aches?
- Does the pain worsen when you clench your teeth?
- Does your jaw click, pop, grate, catch, or lock when you open your mouth?
- Do you experience high levels of pain when you open your mouth, eat, or yawn?
- Do you have arthritis?
- Do your teeth meet differently from time to time?
- Do your teeth feel overly sensitive or lose?
- Does increased stress induce clenching and jaw pain?
- Have you previously injured your neck, head, or jaw?
If you answered “yes”, it is likely that you have a TMJ disorder.
WHAT IS TMJ?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the name for each joint (right and left) that connects your jaw to your skull. TMJ disorders occur in your complex, temporomandibular joint.
SYMPTOMS OF TMJ DISORDERS
Symptoms include jaw pain, clicking, popping, or grating sounds, locked jaw, misaligned bite, or difficulty opening your mouth widely. You might also experience pain in the neck, shoulders, mouth and even your lower back. Other symptoms can include earaches, headaches and migraines.
HOW DO TMJ DISORDERS OCCUR?
TMJ disorders can develop for a variety reasons. You might clench or grind your teeth during sleep or tighten your jaw muscles during higher levels of stress. It is possible that you may have a damaged joint due to injury or disease. Arthritis can also stretch or tear the muscle ligaments, or damage the joint directly. Because the disc is made of cartilage and functions as the cushion of the jaw joint, it can sometimes dislocate out of position.
While no one remedy can completely resolve TMJ disorders, fortunately there are a variety of at-home treatments that can make smiling comfortable again so you can have a healthier and more comfortable jaw. Mouth guards can help to realign your jaw muscles to prevent excessive teeth grinding. Other treatment options may include physical therapy, prescription medications, and facial relaxation techniques. Self-care treatments can often be effective. These may include:
- Resting your jaw
- Keeping your teeth apart when you are not eating or drinking
- Eating soft foods
- Applying ice and heat
- Managing stress levels
- Exercising your jaw
- Practicing good posture
To learn more about TMJ or TMD, contact our family dentistry office located in Ooltewah, TN or leave us a message! We also serve Collegedale TN, Chattanooga TN and Cleveland TN communities.