If you experience frequent jaw pain, headaches, migraine, or a painful sensation around your ear, you may have an inflamed TMJ, or temporomandibular joint. You might hear clicking or popping while chewing or talking if this condition affects you. In this blog, we’ll talk about the symptoms and possible causes of TMJ pain, how Dr. Tedford diagnoses the disorders, and how to treat TMJ and the jaw damage causing the painful symptoms.
If you’re under a lot of stress, you may constantly clench or grind your teeth, which eventually damages the joint connecting the lower jaw to the bone on the side of the skull. You may not even be aware that you are doing this during the day in stressful situations or while asleep at night. This damage from putting pressure on the jaw usually rears its ugly head as the pain of headaches.
You can treat the condition by focusing on relaxation techniques, stretching exercises to ease the strain on muscles while exhaling and by using mouth guards to prevent jaw clenching. Pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help to manage the pain but their use should be limited to avoid possible side-effects like gastrointestinal bleeding.
Of course, you can experience pain in your jaw even if you’re a relatively relaxed person. TMJ pain can also result from arthritis as the surface of bones wears away, the connecting joint ligament becomes inflamed, or as a consequence of gum disease, neuropathic nerve pain, vascular pain, sinus conditions, or a condition called osteomyelitis that is essentially an infection in the bones and surrounding tissues. Whatever the cause, the result is suffering that lowers the patient’s quality of life. By the time TMJ is diagnosed, a lot of damage may already be done. That’s where Tedford Family Dentistry comes in to offer solutions from those patients suffering from TMJ/TMD disorders in the Ooltewah TN, Collegedale TN, greater Chattanooga, and Cleveland TN communities.
Of course, the occasional headache may have another cause, but if TMJ is suspected, Dr. Keith Tedford discusses symptoms and examines the jaw to observe the range of motion, identify specific sites of pain or discomfort, and listen as the mouth is opened or closed. Dental X-rays may be needed to inspect the bones and reveal problems. To arrange a visit to discuss your jaw pain, call (423) 238-8887. We can set up a time to visit our dental office at 9380 Bradmore Lane, Suite 108, Ooltewah TN 37363.
In addition to the relaxation techniques and mouth guard described above, the symptoms of TMJ disorders may be relieved with prescribed pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, low doses of antidepressants like amitriptyline that can sometimes be effective for TMJ, or short-term use of muscle relaxants. As mentioned on our dedicated page about TMJ/TMD Disorders, surgical procedures to treat the condition are typically only employed only after other treatments have failed.
The first step is to attempt the at-home treatments we recommend, then Dr. Tedford can repair the jaw damage for long-term dental care.
For more information on Treating TMJ: