Have you been struggling with jaw pain and stiffness for a long time? Do you suddenly feel your jaw joints “lock up” when you try to open or close your mouth? Does it seem like your teeth are more worn down than they should be? If any of these issues sound familiar, there could be a problem with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that connects your lower jaw to your skull. At Aesthetic Dentistry of Stuart, one of our skilled dentists can examine your jaw for signs of a TMJ disorder (TMD) and create a treatment plan so that you can go through life without having to wrestle with pain on a daily basis. Call us today to set up an appointment and start getting to the bottom of your jaw pain.
There are several possible risk factors for a TMD, and in some cases the exact cause isn’t clear. That said, there are some particularly common culprits.
We need to narrow down the root cause of your TMJ disorder, which is why the first step will be to examine the jaw joint carefully.
No two cases of TMD are exactly the same, so symptoms can vary somewhat. Common warning signs that there might be a problem with your TMJ include the following:
A TMD is also often accompanied by a clicking sound or grating sensation when you open your mouth, but this isn’t something you necessarily need to worry about if you don’t notice any pain or other TMJ symptoms.
Aesthetic Dentistry of Stuart uses neuromuscular dentistry to treat the source of your TMD. After we identify the issue, we’ll discuss possible solutions. In many cases, we can use gentle electrical stimulation to help the muscles in your head and neck relax and release endorphins that soothe your TMJ-related pain. We can go into more detail about your treatment once a proper diagnosis has been made.
How much do you know about TMJ disorders? Do you fully understand what treatment is going to entail? Helping you make good decisions is an important part of TMJ therapy, which is why we encourage our patients to ask questions during their visits. If there’s something you want to know before your appointment, we invite you to check the frequently asked questions listed below and see if we’ve already provided the answer that you’re looking for.
That can be a difficult question to answer because there are multiple possible causes for TMJ-related problems, and in some cases the ultimate root of the disorder is never made clear. That said, there are several contributing factors that we might identify. For example, the upper and lower teeth might not be positioned correctly when the mouth is closed, putting uneven pressure on the jaw. Other risk factors include clenching or grinding of the teeth, trauma to the jaw area, and arthritis. We’ll do all we can to figure out what’s contributing to your TMJ disorder, and we’ll give you suggestions for changes you can make in your daily life that can potentially reduce your symptoms.
In addition to seeking TMJ therapy, it generally helps to:
Neuromuscular dentistry focuses on addressing the cause of the problem, which generally lies in the jaw joint, the muscle, or the position of your teeth. One possible solution is to use a TENS unit. TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation. We can use the device to relax the neck and head, thus stimulating the release of endorphins to reduce your pain. Also, we can use electromyography and sonography to accurately diagnose your TMJ issues and help reduce the pain.
Surgery is something of a last resort when it comes to treating TMJ disorders. It’s better to stick with the more conservative forms of treatment offered at Aesthetic Dentistry of Stuart whenever possible, especially if your symptoms aren’t especially severe. In general, surgery is only considered necessary if: