Category Archives: TMJ disorder

How Do You Treat TMJ Disorder?

older man holds both hands to his upper jaw near the ears

Treating TMJ disorder can be as easy as relaxing the jaw. And, with a little attention, the symptoms may just go away on their own. Unfortunately, though, this is not always the case. TMJ often requires attention – at home, with a medical professional, or by your dentist. 

Here’s how it’s treated. 

What is TMJ Disorder? 

TMJ is short for Temporomandibular Joint, which is located where your jaw connects to your skull on each side of your head. For those who have been diagnosed with TMJ disorder, pain is felt in both the joint and the muscle that control the jaw’s movement. 

The most common symptoms of TMJ disorder are: 

  • Finding it difficult to chew
  • Pain when chewing
  • Pain or soreness at the jawline
  • Pain or soreness at one or both of the temporomandibular joints
  • Ear aches in and around the ear
  • Locked joint, inability to open and close the jaw
  • Clicking sounds when opening and closing the jaw

Note: If you have never been diagnosed with TMJ disorder, but think you may have it, you should always seek the guidance of a professional. 

Treating TMJ at Home

For mild cases of TMJ where pain is mild and uncomfortable, but not an interruption to your day, there are a few things you may want to try at home to treat the pain. 

Apply Moist Heat

Joint pain often responds well to applying moist heat to the area. Just be sure that it is not too hot so you don’t burn your face. 

Apply Ice or Cold

Ice is known to reduce inflammation and ease pain. Wrap ice in a towel and place on the joint for no more than 10 or 15 minutes. 

Eat Soft Food

Eating hard foods can be harsh on the muscles and joints. Give your jaw a break by eating soft, blended food. 

Relax Your Muscles

Practice deep breathing techniques and let your jaw loosen up. Your jaw will drop, your mouth and teeth will part, and you should begin to feel your facial muscles relax. Breathing slowly this way for a few minutes can offer incredible relief. 

Trying some of these tips while taking over-the-counter pain reliever may offer you the relief from TMJ that you are looking for. However, if the pain is persistent or disruptive to your daily life, you should contact your dentist. 

How Your Dentist Can Help

Dentists handle teeth, but they deeply understand the intricacy of the mouth as a whole, functional system. And this includes the temporomandibular joint responsible for this disorder. Your dentist may be able to assess your situation and even diagnose TMJ disorder. He or she may listen to and feel your jaw as you move it, as well as pay attention to your range of movement. X-Rays may also be used to determine your needs.

TMJ may be caused by different factors, such as injury and arthritis. But it is commonly due to issues with the alignment of the teeth and the jaw or clenching/grinding too often. While some may be better treated by a medical professional, the latter are all things that your dentist can help you with. 

Treatment solutions frequently used by dentists for this disorder include using tools such as a bite plate, splint, or mouth guard. All of which can help those who suffer from TMJ due to clenching or grinding. For TMJ due to alignment issues, braces can often be used to realign the teeth. Sometimes physical therapy or equilibration and functional reconstruction may be considered.

Dentists can also offer other solutions that may offer relief of temporary, intermittent pain from TMJ disorder. 

Your dentist will assess your personal situation and determine the best plan of treatment for you. 

Visit Savannah Dental Solutions

Seeking dental treatment when you suffer from TMJ is a big step. At Savannah Dental Solutions, we understand what you are going through and we are here to help. Whether you are currently suffering with TMJ pain or you require extra precautions during dental procedures, we have the knowledge and expertise to provide you with the best care.  
Contact our office at (912) 354-1366 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.

What to Expect from a TMJ Evaluation with Your Dentist

Young woman achy girl suffering from terrible tooth pain, touching pressing her cheek by hand palm.

Do you have pain or limited mobility in your jaw? These are common symptoms of TMJ disorder. TMJ stands for the Temporomandibular Joint, which is the place where your lower jaw attaches to your skull. This joint can become inflamed, which causes pain and a tightness that can prevent you from being able to open your mouth as far as you should. 

If you have TMJ issues, make an appointment with your dentist. Your dentist can perform an evaluation and determine the best way to treat your TMJ. What will a TMJ evaluation look like? Here’s what to expect. 

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What is the Best Treatment for TMJ?

TMJ, is commonly known as severe jaw pain. TMJ stands for the Temporomandibular Joint, which is the place where the jaw attaches to the skull. It works somewhat like a hinge that allows your jaw to move up and down. 

Woman eating yogurt with fruits for breakfast

When you experience pain or limited range of motion in this joint, the condition is referred to as TMD, which stands for Temporomandibular Disorder. The good news is the TMJ/TMD is curable. What is the best treatment for TMJ? There are a range of different treatments that can help relieve pain and increase range of motion in the jaw. 

Treatments You Can Try at Home

When you experience pain in your jaw, the first step is to try some home remedies to see if you can relieve the pain without a dentist’s intervention. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Apply ice. Applying ice to any type of injury can help to relieve pain, reduce swelling, and accelerate healing. Ice can help the jaw in the same way. Apply ice to one or both of your jaw joints a few times a day. 
  • Eat soft foods. Jaw pain can be exacerbated by a lot of chewing or biting on hard or chewy foods. Eat soft foods that will allow your jaw to rest and avoid chewing gum. 
  • Relax your jaw. This can be easier said than done. If you hold tension in your jaw when you feel stress, it can make TMJ/TMD worse. Try to make a concentrated effort to relax your jaw periodically during the day. You can try holding a pen or pencil gently across your mouth with your lips tucked in around your teeth. It causes a natural relaxation of the jaw as long as you don’t bite down. 
  • Take a pain reliever. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help with the pain. Anti-inflammatory pain relievers can also reduce any inflammation in the jaw joint that could be causing the pain. 

Sometimes these methods will help jaw pain go away on its own. But if not, it would be best to call your dentist. 

Treatments Your Dentist May Recommend

When your pain persists after attempting to relieve it at home, you may need some professional intervention. What is the best treatment for TMJ according to a dentist? A dentist may recommend any of the following:

  • Mouth guard/oral splint. Wearing a mouth guard, like the type worn to prevent teeth grinding, can help to relieve TMJ/TMD pain. A buffer between the teeth absorbs some of the impact of teeth grinding or jaw clenching, taking the pressure off the joint and allowing it to heal. 
  • Physical therapy. When you think of physical therapy, you probably think of treatment for a knee or shoulder injury. But the jaw is a joint, similar to the other joints in your body. It can respond to physical therapy in much the same way, getting stronger and improving range of motion.
  • Injections. Pain can be relieved through injections of medication into the joint. There are a variety of medications that may be injected from pain relievers to corticosteroids. 
  • Surgery. In some cases, severe TMJ/TMD can require surgical procedures to correct. Surgery can be done to reconstruct the joint or release a locked jaw. 

Surgical procedures would be the last resort if no other type of treatment has been effective at relieving pain or restoring range of motion in the jaw. In most cases, jaw surgery is minimally invasive and considered to be a minor procedure. 

Experiencing TMJ Symptoms? Contact Savannah Dental Solutions 

If you are experiencing pain in your jaw or limited range of motion, Savannah Dental Solutions can help. TMJ/TMD can be painful, but it is treatable. The best treatment for TMJ is not necessarily the same for everyone. Based on your symptoms and your personal experience with jaw pain, we will find the treatment option for you and put a stop to your pain at the source. 

Call (912) 354-1366 or contact us today to schedule an appointment at Savannah Dental Solutions. We look forward to helping you find the best way to relieve your TMJ symptoms. 

TMJ: What You Must Know

Woman holding her mouth in pain wearing a blue shirt on a gray background.

TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome. It is a fairly common problem that people face with the joint that connects the jaw to the cheekbone. If you have been recently diagnosed with TMJ, it can be overwhelming to learn more about the condition. Here is a simplified overview of everything that you need to know about TMJ.

Two Temporomandibular Joints

You have two temporomandibular joints, as you have one on each side. It is possible to experience pain in just one or both of the joints at the same time. If you experience pain in one joint, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will ever experience pain in the other.

TMJ Symptoms

If you have TMJ, you might experience soreness or pain in your jaw, mouth pain, tightness in your face, and headaches. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, you might experience difficulty or pain when chewing food, lockjaw, or popping noise that you can hear when you open and close your mouth. Since the jawbone and ears are so connected, it is possible that you will experience some symptoms in your ears. This includes ringing, ear pain, and eye pain.

TMJ Causes

There are many different causes of TMJ. Multiple conditions can be contributing to your TMJ symptoms. This includes tooth misalignment, jaw injuries, genetics, arthritis, and bad posture. Stress can contribute to your TMJ symptoms, especially when teeth grinding or jaw clenching is present. Your dentist will complete a thorough assessment to see what is causing your TMJ and find the appropriate solutions.

TMJ Treatment

For TMJ pain relief, it is important to seek out the advice of a dental professional who will be able to evaluate your condition. Taking over the counter pain relievers often isn’t enough to manage the chronic pain associated with TMJ. Your dentist may recommend the use of a custom dental appliance to help reduce the strain on the joint and eliminate the symptoms. Botox and steroid injections can also be used to manage pain and discomfort.

Depending on what solutions you’ve tried and the severity of the symptoms, your dentist might recommend other types of treatment. Working with a physical therapist can work to reduce the pain and improve function for the temporomandibular joint. They may recommend to use compresses to help.

In addition, some TMJ cases require surgery to treat. Often surgery is only recommended as a last result. An arthrotomy is an open joint surgery. A modified condylotomy is a type of controlled fracture that can help restore normal disk position and immediately stop pain.

For the best Savannah TMJ treatment, it is best to work with a dentist that specializes in TMJ. They will have the best understanding of the condition and know about the most innovative treatment opportunities for the condition. For some patients, managing TMJ symptoms is a chronic situation. However, for others, stress and recent injury can cause the condition to become symptomatic.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are looking for TMJ pain relief, contact Savannah Dental Solutions today at (912) 354-1366. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will guide you through the process of diagnosing and managing the symptoms of TMJ.

Understanding TMJ: What You Need to Know

If you are experiencing sensitive or unusually worn teeth, a popping or clicking jaw, or unexplained pain such as headaches and earaches, you might be suffering from TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disease. This is a serious and often progressive disease which, over time, can cause permanent damage to your jaw joint and the supporting structures. Fortunately, with proper diagnosis and treatment, TMJ can be halted or even reversed.

understanding-tmj

What Causes TMJ?

The complex temporomandibular joint normally operates like a sliding hinge between the skull and the jawbone. Cartilage and discs cushion and protect the joint, allowing smooth and pain-free movement. In TMJ, however, this joint becomes misaligned.

TMJ sometimes appears after an impact to the jaw. Hormonal fluctuations may be responsible for some cases, as it is most frequently diagnosed in women between 20 and 40 years of age. For most of the 35 million sufferers in the United States, however, the root cause of TMJ remains a mystery.

Stress is often implicated as a cause, likely because those with anxiety are more likely to grind the teeth or clench the jaw. However, in most cases of TMJ, an actual structural misalignment of the teeth is found. If the teeth do not come together properly, chewing will pull the jaw out of alignment to create a more balanced bite. This puts intense pressure on the joint capsule and surrounding muscles, leading to the characteristic pops, clicks, and pain that are hallmarks of TMJ.

Symptoms of TMJ

Every case of TMJ is unique, and everyone’s subjective experience is different. Still, most people with TMJ experience at least a few of these common symptoms:

  • – Jaw pain or tenderness
  • – Earaches
  • – Headaches
  • – Facial pain
  • – Painful or difficult chewing
  • – Clicking, popping, or grating sounds when moving the jaw
  • – Joint lockup, making it difficult to fully open or close the mouth

 

TMJ Treatment Options

The goal for TMJ treatment is to relax the jaw by ensuring that the bite is in harmony with both itself and the joint. This allows you to use your mouth normally, eliminates pain, and stops the progression of the disease.

Because everyone is different, there is no single right way to accomplish this goal. Depending on your individual needs, your dentist might select one or more of the following treatments:

  • – Medication
  • – Bite splint or orthotic
  • – Physical therapy
  • – Equilibration and functional reconstruction

 

Other specialized treatments are also available. Your dentist will perform a thorough examination and go over the results with you in detail. The treatment process often takes several appointments to complete, and is individualized based on your symptoms, their severity, and the complexity of the underlying issues.

Home Remedies

In most cases, a TMJ treatment plan will include both in-office and home treatment procedures. In mild cases, home remedies may be all that is required. Your dentist will give you a specific home care plan based on the results of your examination, but here are a few common suggestions:

  • – Soft foods: While the goal of treatment is to return your jaw to full use, eating certain foods can worsen the pain during the healing process. Choose soft, easy to chew foods such as fish, scrambled eggs, yogurt, and well-cooked vegetables. Cut other foods into small bites, and skip hard or sticky foods for a while.
  • – Ice packs: Ice can help to ease pain. Ask your dentist to explain exactly when and for how long you apply each ice treatment.
  • – Intentional relaxation: Stress can lead to clenching and jaw tension, so build relaxation breaks into your day. Consciously hold your teeth slightly apart, placing your tongue between them if needed. Minimize large mouth movements such as yelling or singing.
  • – Avoid chewing gum or ice: The process of chewing can cause TMJ pain, so eliminate all unnecessary forms of chewing while you heal.
  • – Over the counter pain medications: Check with your dentist to make sure you do not have contraindications based on your current medications or health status. For most people, however, over the counter medications can bring temporary pain relief. If these do not work for you, ask your dentist to prescribe something a bit stronger.

 

TMJ is a complex and highly personalized disorder that generally gets worse over time. With proper diagnosis and treatment, however, it is possible to stop and even reverse the disease. Your dentist will draw up an individualized treatment plan based on your symptoms and the severity of your condition.

Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.

Do you snore? (Or, sleep with someone that does?)

18 to 30 million adults in America suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Some are familiar with that name. Others relate to the symptom—loud snoring! This chronic condition can be detrimental to the health and quality of life for the one snoring and the one trying to sleep beside them.

Many treatments involve a bulky and cumbersome CPAP machine. This device is not only inconvenient at home, but incredibly troublesome for travel. Many users report the need check an extra suitcase for air travel.

A new product called, SomnoDent has been developed. It’s often referred to as a sleep apnea mouth guard or snoring mouthpiece.

Do you have sleep apnea?
Throat muscles and the tongue relaxes during sleep. Your airway can become obstructed and prevent normal breathing. Here are some signs you could be suffering from sleep apnea:
• Snore at night
• Very tired during the day
• Noticeable pauses in nighttime breathing
• Teeth grinding at night

CPAP alternative

CPAP alternative
If you are already using a CPAP, you already know how bulky and inconvenient this device can be. The snoring mouthpiece is custom fitted and will fit in the palm of your hand. A big advantage to the sleep apnea mouth guard is that it makes no noise!

We’d be happy to schedule an appointment to help you identify the source of your snoring or talk with you more about an alternative to the CPAP machine.

Savannah Dental Solutions
Drs. Chad and Alexandra Schnabel

9A Medical Arts Center
Savannah, GA 31405
Phone: (912) 354-1366
Website: SavannahDentalSolutions.com

Top Dental Symptoms: Jaw Pain or Popping/Clicking in the Jaw

Many things can cause these symptoms, which can make it difficult to diagnose. Possible causes include sinus problems, toothache, arthritis, injury, teeth grinding, gingivitis or problems with your jaw like TMJ. Your dentist will conduct a thorough exam, which may include X-rays, to determine the source of the pain.
Above article from: MouthHealthy.org
Savannah Dental Solutions
Drs. Chad and Alexandra Schnabel
9A Medical Arts Center
Savannah, GA 31405
Phone: (912) 354-1366
Website: SavannahDentalSolutions.com