Are you suffering from pain in your jaws? It can be an indication of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. The TMJ connects the lower jaw to the skull. It is responsible for the movements of the jaw that help in biting, chewing, and speaking. Disorder of the TMJ can occur due to various reasons, causing pain and discomfort. However, it is not an irreversible condition. With proper treatment and care, we can permanently cure TMJ disorder. Our dentists offer non-invasive and invasive treatment options to correct the positioning of the jaw and improve its functions. To understand how the treatments work, it is better to learn the signs and symptoms of this disease.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
The signs and symptoms of TMJ disorder may vary among different individuals. However, some common symptoms that are highly indicative of this condition include:
- Frequent headaches that may cause dull or chronic pain
- Pain around one or both ears
- Clicking sounds from the joint upon opening or closing your mouth
- Having difficulty in opening or closing the jaw
- Pain during jaw movements (especially during biting or chewing food)
- Radiating pain in other facial regions
- Shoulder and neck pain
Long-Term Treatments For TMJ Disorder
A temporomandibular joint (TMJ) splint is a special dental appliance that is custom-made to support the jaw in a proper position. It resembles a nightguard. It gradually repositions the jaw in a way that helps avoid chronic inflammation of the joint. After wearing this appliance on a regular basis, you will notice the TMJ symptoms greatly improving over time. It also avoids excessive teeth grinding and relieves pressure on the joint. TMJ splints are one of the most effective non-surgical techniques to improve the joint’s functioning.
Fixing Dental Issues
TMJ disorder can occur due to prior dental issues that may disturb the normal bite. Once we stabilize the joints with temporary measures, we will proceed with a full bite reconstruction plan. Using advanced restorative techniques, we can restore the normal functions of your teeth and jaws. Our dentists will thoroughly examine your oral cavity to assess your needs and design a treatment plan accordingly. It may include dental fillings, crowns, veneers, bridges, or other dental services. For cases of misalignment, we suggest orthodontic treatments to correct teeth and jaw irregularities.
Physical therapy of the TMJ includes exercises that help improve joint movements and functions. It is an effective intervention for TMJ disorder that provides long-term results. Our dentists will provide detailed guidelines on performing these exercises at home. Maintaining a proper posture during these exercises is important to avoid muscle strain. An advanced form of physical therapy is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) which is also very effective in relieving TMJ pain.
Our first priority is to treat TMJ disorder with non-invasive techniques. However, if the case is too complex or does not respond to conservative treatments, we will discuss surgical options. TMJ surgery is the last measure and is typically reserved for specific cases. Surgical procedures may include arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, or open joint surgery.
To determine which treatment is the best for you, we suggest booking a consultation with our skilled dentists at Village Park Family Dental. Visit our practice or call us at (281) 376-4444 for an appointment.