Can a Dentist help with TMJ Pain?

Are you battling with jaw pain, popping, or clicking? If so, you may be suffering from a condition known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, and we, at Coleman Advanced Dentistry, are here to help. We are pleased to offer TMJ treatment options to address your pain and discomfort and get your smile’s health on track. We invite you to contact our Vista office to get started today!

TMJ Disorder or TMD – An Overview

Your temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, are small triangular-shaped joints that act like hinges, connecting your jawbone to your skull. You have two TMJ joints, one on each side of the jaw, in front of your ears. They allow you to move your jaws up and down, back and forth, and side to side, enabling you to chew, swallow, talk, and yawn.

TMJ disorders, or TMD, can leave you with debilitating pain in your jaw joint and the muscles that control your jaw movement. It usually results from problems in your muscles, bones, or tissues in and around your temporomandibular joints.

What Are the Causes of TMD?

The causes of TMD are not always easy to pinpoint. However, as with any other joint, your TMJs can result from genetics, inflammation, sore muscles, strained ligaments or tendons, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia. It can also result from stress, fatigue, trauma, illness, an uneven bite, or wear and tear of the joint. TMD is often associated with teeth grinding and clenching, a condition known as bruxism, although people who grind and clench their teeth do not always develop TMJ disorders.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of TMD?

Patients with TMJ disorders report hearing a clicking, popping, or grating sound when opening or closing the mouth that is accompanied by pain or limited jaw function, like the jaw getting stuck in an open or closed position. Muscle pain is another tell-tale sign of TMD. It is often felt in the cheeks or temples, where you’ll find the two large pairs of jaw-closing muscles.

Other signs of TMD include pain and soreness in the morning, which is usually related to habits such as nighttime teeth grinding and clenching. Patients may experience painful symptoms, including tension headaches, a persistent dull ache in the jaws and surrounding areas, facial swelling, neck pain, or discomfort when biting, chewing, or yawning. Ear pain, which is often mistaken for ear infections or other ear problems, is another common sign of TMD.

If you experience any of these symptoms, make sure to contact Coleman Advanced Dentistry to schedule a consultation. Our experienced dentists will evaluate your unique needs and recommend the best treatment options for lasting relief. If not treated, TMJ disorders can lead to a host of complications, including TMJ inflammation, fractured teeth, eroded tooth enamel, poor quality of sleep, muscle spasms, and more.

Lifestyle Changes to Manage TMJ Pain

In many cases, TMJ pain and discomfort can be relieved by making lifestyle adjustments. These include eating softer foods that do not require your jaw to work harder and limiting foods like steaks, apples, or corn on the cob. Giving your jaws a rest can help relieve your TMJ symptoms. Some patients find that moist heat helps ease the pain. If, however, your jaw is swollen, you may want to use an ice pack instead of heat to decrease the inflammation.

Our team at Coleman Advanced Dentistry can demonstrate exercises that may help improve the mobility of your jaw. These exercises may take time to produce noticeable results and will need dedication on your part. If stress is behind your TMJ pain, it is important to find ways to relax. These may include breathing techniques, massage therapy, meditation, yoga, listening to soothing music, or seeking professional help to manage your stress.

Treatment Options for TMJ Pain

At Coleman Advanced Dentistry, we always recommend the most conservative approach to treating TMJ disorders. Surgery is typically a last resort when non-surgical treatment options fail to provide the needed relief. However, even with the best of efforts, surgery is sometimes the only option to address the underlying causes of TMJ pain.

If you suffer from TMJ dysfunction, our highly experienced dentists may recommend exercises or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs. Another treatment option is reshaping the biting surfaces of your teeth to help your jaws close properly, a procedure known as occlusal equilibrium.

Other safe and highly effective TMD treatment options include oral appliance therapy. That involves the use of custom oral appliances that prevent teeth grinding and clenching and gently reposition your temporomandibular joints to a more favorable position. Oral appliance therapy has been shown to relieve stress, reduce muscle strain, and provide lasting TMJ symptom relief.

TMD Treatment Near Me in Vista, CA

If you are looking for non-surgical solutions to address your TMJ pain, contact Coleman Advanced Dentistry to schedule a consultation today. Our accomplished dentists will evaluate your unique concerns and recommend the most conservative treatment options for long-term relief. You can count on us for exceptional, gentle care. We invite you to call us at 760-726-0770 to schedule your appointment today!