In patients experiencing TMJ pain, the result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint & surrounding facial muscles, a number of treatments from mouth guards to medicine are available to alleviate pain.
If your jaw hurts or makes noises when you chew, talk, or yawn, that’s a red flag that something isn’t functioning properly. It could be a structural disorder within the joint, or a problem with your jaw muscles that can cause muscle pain every time you open and close your mouth. The culprit could be the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which controls how the jaw moves. When relief is needed, TMJ treatment in Little Rock is available at Arkansas Family Dental.
What is TMJ?
TMJ is a class of temporomandibular disorder (TMD) that can affect 20–30% of the adult population, usually between the ages of 20 and 40. Unfortunately, the pain of TMJ can be almost as severe as a toothache and often continues if left untreated or undiagnosed. This causes the pain and stiffness to become chronic and tough to handle — but there are solutions.
Joint disorders are not well understood, but professionals believe TMJ symptoms are due to a problem within the mouth’s joints or facial muscles. The disorder has been known to occur as a result of injuries to the head and neck muscles, as in the case of whip lash from an auto accident. Other causes could be arthritis, everyday stress, and even too much caffeine consumption that leads to clenching of the teeth or a tightening of facial muscles.
TMJ can also cause ringing in the ears, headaches, toothaches, ear and neck aches and hearing problems. If untreated, TMJ can lower quality of life, especially if relief comes only from short-term home remedies like over-the-counter pain pills or ice packs. A professional evaluation provides the best insight into relief options, as well as the appropriate course of action for TMJ treatment on an individual basis.
TMJ treatment options
Many of TMJ’s painful symptoms can be corrected without surgery. Improper bites can be treated with guards or splints, equilibration (the reshaping of biting surfaces), or restorations.
Your dentist may recommend a night guard or splint to relieve pain and stop the deterioration of enamel caused by teeth grinding. These appliances are custom-made, sometimes in the same day, and can be worn at night while sleeping. Mouth guards can be purchased over-the-counter, but they will not have the precise fit of those made by professionals.
Arkansas Family Dental is experienced in evaluating jaw and bite issues and providing treatment procedures for TMJ. A thorough examination of the joints and tooth alignment will be made before we recommend a treatment plan. There are several types of appliances our professional staff can customize for you in order to allow the jaw to properly fall into the joint socket and relieve you of your jaw pain. Though joint disorders of the jaw can be painful, relief is just a visit away to Arkansas Family Dental.