Temporomandibular Joint (also known as TMJ/TMD) syndrome is a condition of the muscles and nerves of the jaw caused by temporomandibular joint damage or inflammation. Patients with TMD will experience pain with chewing, which leads to clicking, crackling, and popping of the jaw; swelling on the sides of the face; nerve inflammation; headaches, including migraines; tooth grinding (bruxism); Eustachian tube dysfunction; and sometimes dislocation of the temporomandibular joint. Here at Prairie Hawk Dental, Castle Rock, Colorado, we understand that TMD syndrome can be extremely debilitating, and we have experienced dentists on hand to help relieve your pain.
What is TMD therapy?
Because problems with tooth & jaw alignment may cause TMJ, there are dental treatments that can help. Your dentist can suggest wearing a custom dental appliance if your TMJ comes from teeth grinding or clenching. This appliance also referred to as a bite plate or a splint, can protect your upper teeth from rubbing against your lower teeth. This bite guard can prevent wear on your teeth from grinding and alleviate TMJ symptoms, which can lead to other issues.
Other treatments include:
- Stop the overuse of muscles in the jaw. Eat soft meals. Cut your food into tiny bits. Steer clear of food that is sticky or chewy. Avoid chewing gum.
- Massage and Stretching. Your dentist will teach you how to do exercises that stretch and strengthen your jaw muscles and how to massage the muscles yourself.
- Cold or heat packs. You can help relieve the pain at home by applying soft, moist heat or ice to the side of your face.
What are the benefits of TMD therapy?
Patients suffering from TMD will experience severe jaw pain, and after receiving treatment for your TMD syndrome, you’ll begin to notice the pain you’re experiencing alleviated. With TMD, it’s not just tooth or joint pain that comes. Medical experts are not sure about the cause of the issue, but they do know that pain in their shoulders, upper back, neck, and faces is also present in most patients with the disorder. You’ll experience fewer headaches and earaches, too, through TMD therapy. This pain will also disappear through TMD therapy.
Most patients with TMD grind their teeth, whether they realize it or not, and some even do it in their sleep! With TMD therapy, your dentist will be able to give you a bite plate to wear at night to prevent this from happening and protect your teeth from being ground down through the grinding of your teeth. This will also prevent further cosmetic procedures to your teeth should they wear down very far.
Many sufferers of TMD syndrome dread mealtimes, and that’s because of the jaw pain that comes hand in hand with eating. Once your pain has been alleviated, you will enjoy eating again.