Are you having difficulty chewing and talking? Do you experience frequent headaches, facial pain, or jaw pain? If so, you may be suffering from the condition commonly known as TMJ.
What is TMJ?
TMJ is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint. It is affected by the mechanics of your bite and the condition of your jaw muscles. TMJ is highly sensitive to overall physical, emotional, and psychological stress; which can cause the joints to dysfunction, exposing nerve endings to create pain. The resulting temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) can create a variety of mild to severe symptoms, from jaw clicking and minor discomfort to sharp pain in your temple, ears, neck, and shoulders.
TMJ is very common, so we evaluate every patient for TMJ dysfunction at their regular dental exam. If we detect a problem, our goals are to arrest it, protect teeth from further damage, and correct underlying bite misalignment.
We recommend TMJ patients avoid the following:
- Chewing gum
- Hard or chewy food
- Poor posture
- Sleeping on back
- Extreme jaw movements (singing, yawning, yelling)
Therapy may involve fitting you with a physiologic bite appliance, suggesting ways to alleviate stress, and recommending symptom relief measures. If pain is present, we recommend alternating moist heat and cold for 20 minutes to increase circulation further. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or analgesics can be very helpful as well.