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If you’re experiencing pain or tenderness in your face, ear, jaw, or mouth area, and face difficulty in chewing, yawning and even talking, you may be suffering from the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
While the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders (or TMD) are usually temporary, it can severely affect your day-to-day life and productivity. That’s why you should visit your family dentist who will help with the required TMJ treatment procedures.
We don’t yet know what exactly causes TMD, but the consensus holds around a combination of factors such as genetics, jaw injury, and even arthritis.
TMD is more common in women than men, and with people aged between 18 and 44.
Common symptoms of TMD include:
Your dentist will discuss your symptoms and examine your jaw to look for any misplacement sound as you move your jaw. They may also press on areas surrounding your jaw to identify sites of pain and discomfort. Upon suspecting any problem, they may proceed with:
In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with the TMJ disorders should go away on its own. If the symptoms persist, your dentist may recommend a variety of treatment options, including at-home remedies, exercise and therapies, and medication. If the symptoms persist, they may even suggest a bite correction procedure or surgery.
Here are the different TMD treatment options that your dentist may prescribe:
These at-home treatment options are sufficient in most cases. The treatments include:
Medications for pain relief: Your dentist will prescribe pain-relievers for instant relief. Some anti-depressants may also be prescribed for bruxism control and sleeplessness.
Eating soft foods: Skip hard, crunchy and chewy foods like pretzels, raw carrots, and caramels and avoid thick or large bites. To keep your diet intact, you can add soft foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes, soup, and scrambled eggs to your menu.
Using heat or ice packs to modify pain: Apply an ice pack to the affected side of your face. Remove it, and do a few jaw stretches smoothly. Then, hold a warm towel for a few minutes. You’ll be required to do it a few times a day.
Practicing jaw relaxation techniques: Excessive pressure on your jaws can further deteriorate the condition. Try some restraints, like avoiding opening your mouth wide when yawning or chewing, or resting your chin on your hand. You can also get physical therapy or massage, but that should be strictly on your dentist’s recommendation.
Preventing grinding or clenching of your teeth is a must in TMJ disorders. Grinding or clenching can further deteriorate your condition by causing tooth decay and gum disease. TMD splinters, mouthguards, and nightguards can help alleviate common symptoms of TMJ dysfunctions and prevent damage to your teeth and gums.
If there’s a problem with your bite, like a missing tooth, or an uneven teeth contact, your dentist may recommend a bite correction procedure like crowns, bridges, or braces to balance the biting surfaces of your teeth or to correct a bite problem.
If everything fails, your dentist may suggest one or more treatment options that include ultrasounds, trigger-point injections, radio wave therapy, and arthrocentesis and open-joint surgery.
If you’re experiencing any of the given TMD/TMJ symptoms for a while, you should not ignore it. Give us a call on (301) 754-1900 or (301) 853-1567 to get the best advice from Dr. Allen Gotora, your trusted TMJ specialist in Maryland.