If you have been experiencing pain or discomfort in your jaw or around your ear, it could be TMJ disorder. This joint dysfunction affects more than 35 million people in the United States alone, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
So, what is TMJ disorder? What causes it? And, how can it be treated? Let’s talk about it.
What is TMJ Disorder?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your temporal bone (or upper jaw) to your lower jaw – and it is located on either side of the head, right next to the ear. It is designed to move with a sliding hinge-like motion. But, when it is not functioning properly, it can lead to a lot of pain and discomfort. This is referred to as TMJ disorder.
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
There are many different things that can cause TMJ disorder, which is likely why it’s rate of prevalence is so high. Below is a list of the most common causes.
- Tooth or jaw alignment issues
- Poor oral health
- Bruxism (grinding or clenching)
- Trauma to the mouth or jaw
- Eroded disk (wear and tear)
Sometimes the cause is difficult to pinpoint, regardless of your signs or symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
Most individuals who deal with TMJ disorder experience some level of discomfort. If you are experiencing any of the below, it is best to seek treatment from your dentist so that you may find relief.
- Jaw pain and/or tenderness
- Pain around (or in) the ear
- Pain while chewing
- Dull facial pain or ache
- Clicking or grating sound when opening and closing mouth
- Locking of the joint – being unable to open or close the mouth easily
Treating TMJ Disorder
Because TMJ disorder is so prevalent and doesn’t always cause debilitating pain, it is not uncommon for people to seek at-home treatments. For these mild causes that don’t cause too big of a disruption in life, you may want to try one of the following:
- Apply moist heat to the area
- Apply ice to the area to reduce inflammation
- Eat soft foods to give your jaw a rest
- Relax your muscles and allow your jaw to loosen up
- Take over-the-counter pain medication if necessary
However, for those cases of TMJ disorder that is a little more painful and disruptive – seeing the dentist is recommended. A thorough examination of your mouth and jaw alignment as well as determining the cause of the jaw disorder can help your dentist find the best treatment. For instance, if things are out of alignment, steps can be taken to realign the bite, teeth, and jaw, often using braces. Or oral appliances can benefit someone who has bruxism that is leading to TMJ disorder.
To find any relief at all, though, you have to take the first step and visit the dentist.
Find Treatment for TMJ Disorders at Savannah Dental Solutions
The entire team at Savannah Dental Solutions understands how much TMJ disorder can impact your overall quality of life. We want to help you find healing and comfort by providing you with the best care.
TMJ disorder is a condition of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), where the lower jaw attaches to the skull. The condition is characterized by pain and sometimes limited range of motion in the jaw. TMJ disorder is not only uncomfortable, but it can affect your overall health and wellness if it is not treated. Dental issues and malnutrition are common concerns resulting from TMJ disorder.
What causes TMJ disorder? How is it treated and prevented? Here’s why it occurs and what you can do about it.
Potential Causes of TMJ Disorder
The underlying cause of TMJ disorder is inflammation of the tissues surrounding the joint. But what causes the inflammation? Here are some potential aggravators.
- Teeth grinding/clenching. If you grind or clench your teeth, whether at night when you’re sleeping or during the day, the excess pressure it puts on your TMJ can cause inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Many people are unaware that they grind their teeth because it happens during the night while they sleep or they do it unknowingly during the day as a result of stress or a nervous habit.
- Trauma to the jaw. Getting bumped or hit in the jaw can injure the joint or even misalign your jaw. The problem may be apparent right away or it may progress over time after the injury. The more you use the joint by talking or chewing, the more irritated it may get until you develop TMJ disorder.
- Excessive chewing. If you’re always chewing gum or crunching on nuts or hard candy, the repetitive movement of the jaw and force of chewing takes its toll on the TMJ. The muscles, tendons, and ligaments can become inflamed, causing pain and limited range of motion when opening and closing your mouth.
- Arthritis. Arthritis is defined by pain and stiffness in one or more joints. If you have arthritis in other joints, it is not uncommon to experience TMJ disorder in conjunction.
- Autoimmune diseases. The most common symptom of autoimmune disease is inflammation in the body, which often causes pain in the joints. If you suffer from an autoimmune disease, it could be the cause of your TMJ disorder.
Treatment for TMJ Disorder
Now that you know what causes TMJ disorder, it helps to know how it can be treated. Minor cases of TMJ disorder may be relieved with basic remedies, but severe cases may need more intervention. Here are some treatment options for TMJ disorder.
- Natural home remedies. If you experience pain in your jaw or limited movement, the first thing to do is rest your jaw as much as possible. Eat soft foods and avoid chewing for a few days. Keep talking to a minimum. You can also apply ice to your jaw to reduce swelling and inflammation. Continue these treatments until you experience relief.
- Medication. Try taking an over the counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Anti-inflammatory pain medications, as their name suggests, helps to reduce inflammation in the joint, so ibuprofen may be more effective than acetaminophen.
- Professional treatment. If home remedies and over the counter medication has not provided relief, refer to your dentist for recommendations. Your dentist will most likely want to see you in their office to assess your condition first before providing additional treatment. Prescription medication, such as pain relievers and muscle relaxers may be the next step. Your dentist may also recommend that you get a mouthguard if you grind or clench your teeth. Severe cases that don’t respond to any other treatment may require surgery, but such cases are rare.
Savannah Dental Solutions Provides Treatment for TMJ Disorder
If you’re experiencing pain or other symptoms of TMJ disorder, Savannah Dental Solutions can help. We will evaluate your condition and recommend the best course of action to treat and prevent TMJ disorder.
Call (912) 354-1366 or contact us today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to providing you with relief from your TMJ disorder.
Do you have pain or limited motion in your jaw? These are the two most common symptoms of TMJ disorder. TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint, which is the place where the lower jaw attaches to the skull. This joint can become inflamed, resulting in pain and restricted movement.
If you have symptoms, you may wonder who you should see about it, your dentist or your primary care doctor. Sometimes TMJ causes ear pain, which makes patients wonder if they need an ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor). Here’s what you should do if you have TMJ pain.
See Your Dentist for TMJ Disorder
The best medical professional to see for TMJ issues is your dentist. Dentists focus on the health of the teeth as well as the jaw. A dentist specializes in the anatomy and physiology of the jaw, including bite alignment as it plays a major role in dental health.
If you were to contact your primary care doctor about your TMJ disorder, they may refer you to a dentist or prescribe you some basic treatment options. Even though you may experience pain in the ear, if the issue is with your jaw, an ENT will not be able to help you.
Save yourself some time and contact your dentist directly about any issues with your jaw. If your dentist can’t help, they will refer you to someone who can.
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
One of the most common causes of TMJ disorder is teeth grinding. If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw often, it puts pressure on the temporomandibular joint. This can cause the muscles and tendons to tighten up and become inflamed, causing pain and limited range of motion. Other causes include:
- Injury. A blow to the jaw could cause the joint to be out of alignment or cause the disc to slip out of place in the joint.
- Arthritis. Arthritis can affect the temporomandibular joint as it does the other joints in your body.
- Autoimmune diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases can affect the TMJ.
- Lengthy dental procedures. If you have recently undergone lengthy oral surgery or a dental procedure, TMJ disorder may result from the strain of holding your mouth wide open or having it propped open for a long period of time.
Treatments for TMJ Disorder
There are a variety of treatment options for TMJ disorder. The course of treatment depends on the severity of the disorder, the symptoms, and the cause.
- Ice. Ice can be applied to the jaw and temple to reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Anti-inflammatory pain reliever. Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory medication that can relieve pain and reduce inflammation in the joint.
- Mouthguard. If your TMJ disorder results from teeth grinding, a mouthguard can help to absorb the shock and lessen the force on your jaw.
- Diet of soft foods. It can help to eat soft foods that don’t require much chewing or opening the mouth very far. This allows the jaw to rest for a period of time.
- Prescription pain reliever. Sometimes a stronger, prescription strength pain reliever can be prescribed when over the counter medication is not effective.
- Steroid injection. Severe cases may benefit from a steroid injection to promote healing.
- Botox injection. Botox can relax the muscles in the jaw to relieve pain and improve range of motion.
- Surgery. When nothing else works, surgery may be required to correct TMJ disorder.
Most dental offices can provide the majority of these treatment options or refer you to a specialist.
Savannah Dental Solutions Can Treat Your TMJ Disorder
If you’re experiencing pain or limited motion in the jaw, Savannah Dental Solutions can help. We can diagnose TMJ disorder and recommend a treatment plan to relieve your symptoms and help prevent reoccurance. We specialize in TMJ treatment and provide a range of treatment options in our office.
Call (912) 354-1366 or contact us today to schedule an evaluation. We look forward to helping relieve your TMJ symptoms and providing solutions for prevention.
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.
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.Continue reading
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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