There are a number of reasons why your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) may be causing you pain or discomfort. Pain caused by your TMJ is often called TMJ disorder or dysfunction (TMD).
What exactly is my TMJ?
Your temporomandibular joint is located in your skull, where your temporal bone connects to your mandible. Your TMJ gives your jaw mobility, allowing it to move from side to side and up and down.
Why is my TMJ causing me pain?
There are many factors why your TMJ might cause you pain, such as genetics, stress, arthritis, head traumas, and other injuries.
Some individuals are more prone to TMD than others. While TMD is common in men and women, more women are diagnosed with TMD than men. Certain bone structure and joints may contribute to TMD.
Just like any bone or joint, your TMJ can become worn down over time. This can be caused by a specific kind of arthritis called osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is more commonly seen among older people. Other arthritis-related inflammation in your TMJ may be due to gout or rheumatoid arthritis.
When you are stressed, you may be tightening and straining your jaw and facial muscles, putting pressure on your TMJ. It is likely you are holding stress in your jaw, causing you to clench or grind your teeth.
Clenching or Grinding
Many individuals clench or grind their teeth throughout the day without even noticing it. You may also be clenching or grinding your teeth while you sleep.
A head trauma or dislocation of your jaw can also cause TMD. The shifting of joints and stress from these injuries can result in TMD symptoms, such as headaches and pain in your jaw.
How can I relieve the pain caused by TMD?
At Prosthodontics & Implant Dental Center, we offer a variety of different treatment options for TMD. We provide several noninvasive and comfortable treatment options to help reduce or get rid of your pain caused by TMD.
Changing your diet to softer foods can help reduce some pain caused by TMD.
Depending on your unique situation and pain, we may suggest hot/cold treatments to reduce pain.
There are several over the counter and prescription medications you can take to reduce TMD related pain or discomfort. After we discuss your treatment options, we will suggest a medication right for your needs.
Stress reduction therapy, massages, and meditation can help reduce the amount of pressure on your TMJ and relieve some of your pain.
We may suggest physical therapy and certain exercises to reduce discomfort in your TMJ. You should always speak with a licensed professional before beginning a therapy plan.
We may recommend a night guard to be worn at night to keep your upper and lower teeth from touching. A night guard helps TMD by creating a barrier between your teeth to reduce grinding. In some cases, we may suggest wearing your night guard during the day.
If you have missing, damaged, or misaligned teeth, it may be causing uneven stress and pain. Generally, these issues can be easily fixed with crowns, partial dentures, or braces to help even out the pressure on your TMJ. Depending on your situation and pain, placement of implants and other surgical procedures can be done to help alleviate pain or discomfort. We have treated patients with TMD from Merced, Winton, Atwater, Cressey, and other nearby communities for over 10 years.
How do I know if I have TMD?
If you experience any of the symptoms below and believe they could be associated with TMD, we urge you to make an appointment to come see us. With our team at Prosthodontics & Implant Dental Center, you don’t have to suffer from TMJ pain any longer.
Some signs of TMD include:
Difficulty opening your mouth widely
Feeling tired in your face
Experiencing tenderness or pain in your teeth, jaw joint area, face, ears, neck, head and/or shoulders
Getting jaws stuck closed or open
Swelling of the sides of your face
While these could be signs of other issues, you should let us know so we can check you for TMD. We will check for TMD at your routine checkup. We will examine your jaw and bite. If further examination is needed, we may take X-ray images, MRI tests, and/or CT scans.
Over the past 10 years Prosthodontics & Implant Dental Center, has been treating clients with various types of TMJ problems. Luckily, the treatment options are usually fast and simple, however, some issues can call for more complex solutions.
If you experience any of the symptoms above or would like your TMJ checked, call us today at (209) 383-9222 to schedule an appointment. We have the knowledge and experience you can trust when it comes to alleviating and resolving your TMJ issues.
In need of immediate care?
We offer emergency phone consultations to our existing patients.