The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) in your jaw connect your lower jaw and skull together. Located close to the front of each ear, your TMJ joints allow you to chew and swallow your food as well as open your mouth to speak, yawn, sneeze, and other everyday functions. If you are experiencing chronic pain in this area, you may have developed TMJ disorder. Typical causes of this painful dental problem include:
- Arthritis in your jaw joints
- You injured your jaw or the bones supporting it due to an accident
- You deal with unrelenting stress and frequently clench your jaw because of it
- The disc that normally holds the joints and sockets together has slipped out of place
Regardless of how you developed TMJ disorder, it’s important to seek treatment from All Star Dental as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment makes it possible to reverse the condition so you can live without pain.
How to Determine if You Have TMJ Disorder
Some patients suffer longer than necessary because they don’t realize that there is a medical reason for their jaw pain. Even if you don’t have TMJ disorder, it’s important to come in right away if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Unusual facial swelling
- Speaking and chewing leaves you feeling fatigued
- You experience difficulty when chewing because the teeth from the top and bottom jaws don’t fit together normally
- You hear popping or clicking sounds when opening your mouth
- Pain in the jaw joints, neck, face, or shoulders and pain near your ears when opening your mouth
TMJ Treatment Options
After receiving a diagnosis of TMJ, you’re likely to ask “What is TMJ Treatment?” Dr. Moshena Ahmad uses several different approaches to help eliminate your pain and return your jaws to normal functioning. Unless you have a severe case of TMJ disorder, she begins with the most conservative approach possible. The first step in treating TMJ disorder is to wear a night guard every night or a splint for several hours each day. Both of these dental devices prevent teeth grinding because they don’t allow the upper and lower rows of teeth to touch one another.
Certain home remedies may also be appropriate. Dr. Ahmad may advise you to apply an ice pack at regular intervals and use a non-prescription form of pain relief when you experience a painful flare-up. You should also avoid chewing hard foods as this may aggravate your jaw pain. If these solutions fail to work, Dr. Ahmad will speak to you about more aggressive treatment options.