Do you have an aching jaw and are unsure of what is causing this uncomfortable pain? Contact Singing River Dentistry right away so that our team can set you up with an appointment to determine if you are suffering from what is commonly referred to as a TMJ disorder or TMD. The sooner we can diagnose the problem, the sooner we can get you on a treatment plan that will provide you with much-need relief.
Diagnosing and Dealing with a TMD
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. This joint is like a sliding hinge on each side of your head that connects your jaw to the rest of your skull. When you have a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), you experience pain in this area, which impacts your ability to move your mouth without feeling pain.
This is a big deal because it can cause you pain every time you try to breathe, talk, or eat! Other symptoms of TMD include a general feeling of soreness in your face, your jaw feeling like it is locked open or shut, a misaligned bite, and abnormal clicking sounds coming from your jaw when you open or close your mouth.
When you come in for your appointment, the dentist will examine your jaw, take x-rays and test your bite for any issues. In some cases, you may be asked to get an MRI if more detailed images are needed. If the dentist diagnoses you with a TMD, there are several steps the two of you will discuss to ultimately provide relief.
You first will typically be instructed to make some changes at home. You may be asked to stop biting your nails, reduce your consumption of gum and eliminate some hard food from your diet. To manage the pain, you may be asked to take an over-the-counter pain medication and alternate putting a cold and warm compress on your jaw. You may even be instructed to take steps to reduce stress such as meditation.
If the problems persist, you may be prescribed painkillers or anti-inflammatory medication, be directed to see a physical therapist to work on strengthening your jaw muscles and be fitted for a nighttime mouthguard. If the dentist determines your TMD is being caused by a dental issue, you may need to undergo treatment to correct a misaligned bite. In severe cases, you may need surgery to correct the issue.
What Causes TMD
There are a number of different reasons why you began developing symptoms of TMD. It could be something completely out of your control like genetics, it could be from an unconscious behavior like nighttime teeth grinding, it can be related to arthritis or it can be something as simple as stress or diet choice. The dentist can help determine what is causing your TMD and how to best address the issue.
When you are thinking about how to deal with TMD and TMJ issues, make sure to contact Singing River Dentistry at 256-712-3186 so we can set up a professional examination and start working to provide you relief.
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