Does your jaw feel sore? Does this chronic pain seem to radiate from the joint in your jaw to your ears and head? Do you notice a clicking sound in the jaw as well as an impediment in your ability to move it? These symptoms all point to temporomandibular joint disorders or TMJ.
This damage to the tissue in the jaw joint can occur for a number of reasons, but no matter its cause, it could leave you with lasting problems that can disrupt your everyday life. You will need intervention from your dentist to resolve TMJ, and your treatment plan will vary depending on your unique case. Read on to find three ways your dentist might provide you with TMJ treatment.
Treatment Options for TMJ
Practice Stress Relief Activities
TMJ occurs when tension held in the jaw irritates the muscles and tissue in this area, leading to inflammation that can cause chronic pain as well as dysfunction in the jaw. A leading cause of this tension comes from stress.
So to alleviate TMJ symptoms caused by heightened stress levels, a dentist can help you relieve this stress. Lifestyle changes like regular physical activity and completing deep breathing exercises may help to lower your overall stress and therefore relieve jaw pain and other TMJ discomforts.
Your dentist can also provide you with facial stretches that will work specific muscles in the jaw. This can loosen tightness in the area, relieving tension and therefore TMJ. Consult with your dentist to learn if this treatment can address your specific TMJ case.
Wear a Custom-Made Mouthguard
TMJ can begin or become exacerbated by a chronic teeth-grinding and clenching habit. You might not always realize you have this habit, especially if it occurs as you sleep. The grating of teeth against one another will generate pressure constantly though, making TMJ worse.
To protect the teeth and jaw from clenching and grinding during sleep, your dentist may give you a custom-made night guard to wear. This will cushion against the pressure of teeth grinding that can occur unconsciously during the night. And you can then see less tension in the jaw along with reduced TMJ symptoms.
Amend Bite Problems
Sometimes crooked teeth or other bite alignment concerns can create pressure that will lead to tension in the jaw and therefore TMJ. If you bite unevenly constantly, it spread stilted pressure that will hurt the jaw. Fixing bite problems then can also relieve TMJ discomfort.
Severe malocclusions will need an evaluation from an orthodontist. But smaller alignment concerns can see improvement with Invisalign treatment. This involves custom-made plastic trays that fit over your teeth to gradually shift the teeth into a straighter position.
Then you can bite evenly without generating abnormal pressures that can harm your jaw. Get an oral exam from your dentist to learn if your TMJ stems from bite problems. You can find the best treatment for your TMJ when your dentist evaluates your oral health.