The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) features a hinge-like structure and it is used to connect the jaw and the skull. A lot of movement occurs in this jaw. It is the one responsible for movements such as left and right, down and up, talking, chewing food, and yawning. When problems occur in this part, they are termed temporomandibular disorders or TMD. Patients who experience TMJ dysfunction complain of pain within the part of their jaw. The team at The OC Smiles Family Dental can provide various treatment options for TMD after performing an inspection of the mouth to catch what is causing the jaw joint dysfunction.
Symptoms for TMJ/TMD
Temporomandibular disorder brings about many painful symptoms. However, not all are located in the jaw. A patient may experience eye pressure pain, chronic headaches, ear pain, sinus pressure, and generalized facial pain. Swelling and pain around the region of the jaw joint are also other symptoms. If you have TMD, popping and clicking noises may be heard when you try moving the jaw.
A common symptom in TMD patients is a chronic headache. The jaw misalignment people with TMD experience usually come with a pressure that affects the trigeminal nerve. As a result, you may have painful headaches that mimic a migraine attack. If you have headaches that you are unable to pinpoint their underlying cause, then you could be dealing with a temporomandibular joint disorder.
Treatment for TMD
We may prescribe higher NSAID doses to help relieve swelling and pain. Muscle relaxants can also help relax the jaw if the muscles are tense or if you grind and clench your teeth. Apart from medications, we may provide non-drug therapies, including night guards or dental splints. We custom-make these plastic mouthpieces that fit over the top and bottom rows of teeth in order to prevent them from touching. Mouth guards work by lessening the impact of clenching and grinding.
Additionally, the mouth protectors help correct your bite by pushing your teeth into the correct position. A night guard is worn at night, but a dental splint is worn all the time. If surgery is recommended, we may refer you to an oral-facial surgery specialist to perform the procedure. We work closely with the surgeon to provide the best results from the TMD treatment.
Pre-Treatment Tips for Dealing with TMD
As you wait to get treatment from our dental specialist, you may want to do a number of things to minimize pain and improve bite function. Avoid opening the mouth too wide. You can apply moist heat, about four times a day, for about 15 minutes for each application. For sharp pain, you can use a cold compress, which you apply the same way as the moist heat. Finally, try massaging the sore jaw joint. You can use rotating motions to massage the joints. Open the mouth to stretch the chewing muscles that surround the jaw joint.
Talk to our dentist at The OC Smiles Family Dental to find out what kind of treatment we can provide. We want to help get back your bite function and relieve pain. Depending on the cause of TMD, we will come up with an appropriate treatment plan. Call us at (971) 447-0093 to set up an appointment.
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