Centerville patients ask, “How can I treat my TMJ disorder symptoms?”
TMJ, the frequently-heard phrase for the pain, popping, and locking of the jaw, affects many patients throughout the United States. Simply stated, TMJ disorder is a dysfunction of the joint that holds the top and lower portions of the jaw together. Most of the time, patients can open and close their mouth without any pain or discomfort. However, patients suffering from several symptoms, including:
- Jaw pain that lasts for several days or is intense
- A popping or clicking noise when opening or closing the mouth
- Headache, or pain in the neck, face, or around the ear
TMJ disorder is caused by muscle tension or from habits such as clenching or grinding the teeth. It can affect children, teenagers, and adults. Some patients report a flare up in TMJ disorder when they are ill or under a great deal of stress, while others find that their TMJ disorder episodes are constant or completely random.
There are several treatment and pain management options for patients suffering from TMJ disorder. In some cases, simply resting the jaw, using over-the-counter pain medication, or cool compresses on the jaw can relieve the symptoms. In other cases, patients will need to discover what is causing their TMJ dysfunction and take special care to avoid those practices. For example, some patients clench their jaws when they are angry or stressed, others grind their teeth when they are nervous. Recognizing these activities and stopping them can help patients find relief. However, if the jaw is being irritated and these activities are performed subconsciously or while the patient is sleeping, many dentists will recommend a dental appliance, to prevent clenching and grinding.
While there are other treatment options such as orthodontic treatments, oral appliances are considered the fastest and least invasive way to correct the problems caused by TMJ. If you’re suffering with jaw pain, if it hurts to chew, or if you have unexplained facial pain or headaches, you could have a TMJ disorder. Dr. Daniel Cobb of Alex Bell Dental in Centerville encourages patients to request diagnostic tests before undergoing treatment. Once your TMJ is confirmed, Dr. Cobb can help you find much needed relief.
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