What is TMJ?

TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disease, is a complex, potentially serious, and often overlooked medical condition. The temporomandibular joint is what allows your jawbone to move smoothly. TMJ prevents that smooth movement, causing the jaw to click, stick, or pop.

Treatment generally focuses on correcting any underlying conditions and realigning the bite through a variety of methods. While you are undergoing treatment, lifestyle changes such as choosing soft foods and intentionally relaxing your facial, jaw, and neck muscles can help alleviate pain.

TMJ Treatment at Savannah Dental Solutions

Signs of TMJ disorders may include:

  • Pain or tenderness of your jaw
  • Aching pain in and around your ear
  • Difficulty chewing or discomfort while chewing
  • Aching facial pain
  • Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
  • Clicking sound or grating sensation when opening your mouth or chewing.

Painful disorders of the TMJ can happen if:

  • The disk erodes or gets moved out of alignment
  • Cartilage is damaged
  • A sudden blow or impact compromises the function of the joint

Anyone can experience pain or discomfort in the TMJ joint. However, the most common TMJ disorders occur in women between the ages of 20 and 40 years of age. Approximately 35 million people in the United States have TMJ problems. Genetic, hormonal and other environmental factors may increase the risk of TMJ/TMD.

Chad Schnabel, DMD is a specialist with TMJ disorders and will talk with you about you about your symptoms. You may want to prepare for your consultation by preparing some brief notes on:

  • When did your symptoms start?
  • What has been your history with TMJ pain or discomfort?
  • Has your stress level increased recently?
  • Do you or a loved one notice teeth grinding at night?
  • What is the frequency of headaches, neck aches, toothaches or other pain symptoms?
  • Are you currently on any medications or supplements?
  • Is your pain constant or sporatic?
  • Do you feel a clicking or popping in your jaw? Is it painful?
  • Is there any activity that seems to coincide with the pain?
  • Can you open your mouth normally?
  • Do you have sleep apnea?
  • Dr. Schnabel will listen to your jaw and feel your jaw when you open and close your mouth.
  • The range of motion in your jaw will be observed.
  • Various areas of your jaw may be pressed to identify specific pain points or locations of discomfort.
  • An X-ray may be needed to identify any problems with teeth.

In some cases Dr. Schnabel may determine that symptoms will go away without treatment. Other treatments range from medications, bite splint/orthotic, physical therapy, equilibration and functional reconstruction, and a variety of other specific procedures.

  • If your jaw is sore and in pain, limit the use of jaw muscles.
  • Eat soft foods or cut your food into small pieces.
  • Applying ice to the area of pain may give temporary relief.
  • Try to relax. Some TMJ disorders are brought on by stress. If you are holding stress in your jaw, try and relax the muscles throughout the day.
  • Over the counter medications can provide short-term relief
  • Avoid chewing gum

Schedule the First Step Toward Your Healthiest Smile

We are excited to meet you and discuss your dental needs.  Call our office today at (912) 354-1366 or use the contact form here and we’ll get in touch with you to schedule an appointment.