For those who suffer from them, particularly younger women, issues with the temporomandibular joint, also known as TMJ disorders, the results can be painful and frustrating. The TMJs are two vital joints in front of each ear that connect the lower jaw to the skull, but issues in this area may lead not only to pain, but also to several related conditions that require treatment.
At Bright Side Dental, we provide numerous specialty dental services in addition to our general dentistry solutions in Warren and other parts of Michigan, including TMJ treatments for those suffering from this condition. However, in some cases, patients of TMJ are unsure when they should see a dentist or any kind of medical professional for their issues –this confusion may lead to further exacerbation of pain and other symptoms. With this in mind, here are some general signs of TMJ issues that indicate you should set up an appointment with our TMJ dentists, plus some related cause factors and a quick word on what we’ll do for you.
Signs Indicating a TMJ Concern
There are numerous signs or symptoms connected to TMJ. If you are experiencing any of these, you may need to seek dental care for your issue:
- Pain in the face, jaw or ear without another explanation
- Pain in the neck and shoulders without another explanation
- The jaw locking open or shut regularly
- Popping, clicking or grating sounds whenever you open or close the mouth
- Headache or significant pain while talking, chewing or yawning
- Loss of hearing or tinnitus issues
- Trouble chewing or biting normally
- Trouble opening the mouth fully
- Muscle spasms
Related Cause Factors
In addition, there are several different causes that may contribute to TMJ symptoms:
- A recent trauma or impact to the face or jaw
- A diagnosed muscle disease
- Stress-related grinding of the teeth or clenching of the jaw
- Malocclusion or certain other dental issues
- Certain forms of dental surgery
If you’ve experienced any of these issues recently, including any of the symptoms above, you should schedule an appointment with a TMJ dentist immediately.
How We’ll Help
Treatment is different for each TMJ case, but there are a few common methods that we’ll often utilize:
- General pain relief: We may utilize themes like ice or heat on the jaw, anti-inflammatory or pain medications, stress reduction and related themes to lower pain – and we’ll often recommend these formats for you when you’re home as well.
- NTI device: A mouthguard used to prevent tooth grinding that may be contributing to TMJ symptoms, this is often used during early treatment stages. It does very well against migraine and headache symptoms in many cases.
- Lower splints: For some, the next step after an NTI device will be a lower splint, an appliance that goes over the teeth and keeps them separated while taking pressure off the jaw. Lower splints also help limit grinding and help correct jaw imbalances, plus are highly effective against headaches resulting from TMJ.
For more on when to see a TMJ specialist in Warren, or to learn about any of our family dentist services, speak to the staff at Bright Side Dental today.