Believe it or not, if you suffer from jaw pain, frequent headaches, earaches, and pain in your neck, shoulders, and back, you could be dealing with what is known as a temporomandibular joint disorder. Also called TMD or TMJ, this condition refers to any one of multiple issues that can affect the health of your temporomandibular joints. Advanced Dental Associates is here to help if you are suffering from TMJ and require TMJ treatment to restore your smile in San Antonio, TX.
How Do the Temporomandibular Joints Work?
The temporomandibular joints, or TMJ, are found on each side of your mouth. They are one of the most complex joints in your body and help you open and close your mouth. While this might not seem like much at first glance, the ability to move your mouth is crucial for many important tasks. You need to be able to open and shut your mouth to eat, speak, swallow, yawn, and so much more. The joints work in harmony with your jawbone and muscles, ligaments, and cartilage. If something interferes with this balance, pain, and difficulties arise.
How Does TMJ Happen?
There is no one singular cause of TMJ. Many issues can interfere with the proper movements of your joints. Common issues include bruxism, which has many of its causes, as well as facial trauma. These issues irritate the jaws. Since you cannot stop using your mouth, the constant movement and pressures exerted on these joints can irritate and worsen. They can also cause inflammation, significant pain, and trouble making the slightest movements.
TMJ Treatment in San Antonio, TX
Sometimes you can treat TMJ at home. This is typically only possible with mild cases of TMJ. Jaw exercises or massages can help to loosen the muscles and joints, so they work properly. You may be able to help avoid irritating your joints by avoiding certain types of foods, such as those that are large, hard, or crunchy.
Sometimes, an over-the-counter pain reliever can help alleviate your discomfort. If you take pain relievers, only take them as directed on the bottle.
What can a dentist do to treat TMJ?
There are a few things that we can do to help treat TMJ. A common solution is a nighttime mouthguard. This is a device that is often recommended for those with bruxism. We create a custom oral appliance for you to wear while you sleep. The guard works to protect your teeth, your jaws, your muscles, and your joints. Botox injections may also be helpful. These injections work by interrupting the signals that cause your muscles to clench your teeth and jaws together, preventing the action.
In cases of poor alignment, orthodontic treatment may be recommended. This may be in the form of traditional braces or Invisalign. Either way, correcting your tooth and jaw alignment can help to put a stop to the pain.
What happens if TMJ treatment doesn’t work?
More conservative treatments are typically always tried first. However, surgery may be recommended in more severe cases, such as very severe alignment issues, or if conservative treatments don’t work. Surgery is generally saved as a last effort.
Relieve Jaw Pain
Addressing your TMJ is essential for restoring oral health and alleviating discomfort. For more information and what we can do for you, call Advanced Dental Associates at (210) 655-2753 today.