The pain in your jaw, often accompanied by popping and clicking, is known as TMJ. The temporomandibular joint is one of the most complex joints in the body, moving the jaw from side to side as well as up and down. The powerful muscles surrounding this joint are responsible for smiling, chewing, and talking. Several disorders can cause the muscles and joints to become inflamed and painful.
Tenderness or pain in the jaw, face, neck, or ear area are typical symptoms of TMJ. Some other TMJ symptoms include headaches, eye pain, tinnitus, or dental damage are also symptoms of TMJ. The symptoms are often exacerbated by opening the mouth wide, chewing, speaking, or smiling. At Dworkin Dental, we are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ.
What causes TMJ?
To evaluate the cause of TMJ, our dentist will perform a thorough exam, including x-rays. Once the cause is identified, we can start appropriate treatment for restoration of proper function of the TMJ joint and the relief from pain.
If the grinding of teeth causes the TMJ, a standard treatment is custom-made bruxism splints. The splints prevent the grinding (aka bruxism) and help resolve the pain and discomfort produced by the grinding.
Another cause of TMJ is misaligned teeth. Orthotics or splints that are worn while sleeping can provide a temporary solution and permanent solutions can be obtained by dental restorations or orthodontics to adjust the bite.
How to Mitigate Jaw Ache?
Additional pain relief can be found by using moist heat, such as a warm water bottle wrapped inside a wet washcloth. Alternatively, cold therapy can be of benefit as well. Place an ice pack over the tender area for 20 minutes. Experiment with both to find what works best for you; always be careful to limit the time to 20-minute cycles. (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off)
When experiencing TMJ pain, switching to soft foods can help give your jaw muscles a break. There are specific exercises that stretch the TMJ muscles and help combat pain, and we will instruct you on how to perform them. We can refer you to a physical therapist for additional exercise treatments for persistent cases.
When to Contact us?
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications have a place in managing TMJ pain. In cases where the pain is unmanageable, we can prescribe more potent medicines for a short period as necessary.
If you are experiencing any TMJ symptoms, don’t delay in seeking treatment. Dworkin Dental is your partner in oral health, and we will work together with you to resolve TMJ so that you can once again smile, talk, and eat in comfort.