Did you know that successful treatment of bite-related dental disorders such as TMJ can help you live a happier and healthier life? Integrated Dental Arts dentist Dr. Melvin Benson personalizes his approach based on his clients’ lifestyles to help them achieve just that.
What is TMJ?
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a disorder of the jaw muscles and nerves caused by injury or inflammation to the temporomandibular joint. The temporomandibular joint is the connection between the jawbone and the skull.
Symptoms of TMJ
Most symptoms are experienced in the mouth, neck, head, and shoulders. Normally, the jaw opens smoothly with no resistance or pain. Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) occurs when a disk erodes or becomes misaligned.
Understanding the symptoms can help you determine if visiting your dentist is something you should do. While routine visits are always recommended, here are a few symptoms to look out for:
- Headaches (especially in the morning)
- Jaw pain
- Popping or clicking sound when moving the jaw
- Soreness or pain in the face, neck, and shoulders
How is TMJ Diagnosed?
Firstly, an examination of the patient is needed to diagnose the problem before any treatment can begin. A dental examination for TMJ should include checking the joints and muscles of the jaw for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty of motion.
Depending on the severity of the issue, Integrated Dental Arts may refer you to a physician or a dental specialist for more advanced treatment.
How is TMJ Treated?
For routine cases, there are several methods of treatment available for TMJ disorders. These steps, promoting a “less is more” approach for the treatment of TMJ disorders, include:
- Eating softer foods
- Avoiding chewing gum and biting your nails
- Applying heat packs to the pain
- Practicing relaxation techniques to alleviate tension in the jaw, including meditation or biofeedback.
If your symptoms are more severe, the following treatments may be recommended by your Integrated Dental Arts dentist:
- Exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles
- Medications prescribed by your dentist, such as anxiety medications, muscle relaxants, analgesics, anti-inflammatory
- A mouth guard or bite plate to reduce clenching or grinding of teeth.
Depending on your needs, we may suggest one or more of these treatment options:
- Mouthguard: If your TMJ disorder is a result of teeth grinding, we may suggest a mouthguard to protect your teeth while you sleep. Teeth grinding can result in worn and uneven teeth. A mouthguard can help reposition the teeth to prevent teeth grinding.
- Orthodontics: Orthodontics may be a valuable solution for patients with misaligned or crooked teeth. To alleviate stress on the TMJ, orthodontics can be an excellent solution to eliminate uncomfortable and painful symptoms.
- Restorative Dentistry: We may suggest dental crowns or dental bonding to correct damaged teeth. The goal is to alleviate stress on the TMJ, which may be causing painful symptoms.
If you think you may be suffering from TMJ disorder, any other dental ailment or just need a cleaning or consultation, please call or go online to schedule with Integrated Dental Arts.