- December 10, 2015
Your jaw hurts, and you are worried you might have a TMJ disorder.
In some cases, you can take steps to relieve your symptoms.
In other cases, the pain will continue. That’s when you should call your dentist.
If you live in Southern New Hampshire, call Nashua Family Dentistry. We are prepared to give you the next level of treatment and care to end your jaw pain.
Know the signs of TMD
TMD, or TMJ disorder, gets its name from your temporomandibular joint. This is a ball-and-socket joint in your jaw. This allows you to open you mouth to speak and to close your mouth to chew your food.
The National Institute of Dental and Cranial Research (NIDCR) has more detailed information about TMJ disorders on its website. Below you can read of summary of what you can find there.
First, here are some signs that you maybe suffering from a TMJ disorder:
– Jaw or muscle stiffness
– Pain that radiates in your face, jaw or neck
– Limited jaw movement
– A feeling that your jaw is stuck
– Popping, clicking, or grating sensation when you move your jaw
– Pain while eating or after you finish eating
In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, TMJ problems also may be connected to face, neck, and shoulder pain, headaches, earaches, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Causes of TMD
According to NIDCR, the causes of TMJ disorders aren’t entirely clear, but here are some possible factors.
The position of your jaw can affect the pain you may be feeling. This pain may be in the jaw itself or in the muscles around your jaw.
If you suffered an injury to the jaw, this could contribute to your TMJ disorder.
Bruxism (grinding or clenching your teeth) may be a factor as well. This puts added pressure on your temporomandibular joint and on the muscles around this joint.
This can happen in your sleep or as a reaction to stressful situations at home or at work.
Last, but not least, arthritis can cause inflammation of your temporomandibular joint, just as it can with other joints in your body.
In some cases, a TMJ problem may be the cause of other issues. In other cases, it may be a side effect of another underlying problem.
Research on TMJ problems is ongoing. Doctors and scientists are continuing their work to better understand the specific causes that lead to TMDs. However, you should be aware that bad bites and orthodontic braces are not considered a cause of TMD, according to the latest research.
NIDCR recommends conservative treatments as a first option if you think you may be suffering from a TMJ disorder.
You can start at home by eating soft foods, applying ice packs, and learning techniques to relax and reduce stress. Gentle jaw stretching exercises can help improve jaw movement, and avoiding extreme jaw movements (wide yawning, loud singing) also can help.
Over-the-counter pain medications can relieve discomfort in many cases.
Unfortunately, some cases of TMJ disorders require additional treatment.
The dental team at Nashua Family Dentistry can help if your TMJ problem is related to bruxism. Stabilization splints are a common treatment for this kind of TMJ disorder. The splint is a type of mouthguard designed to change the position of your lower jaw.
Your custom-fitted mouthguard moves your jaw into a more relaxed position. This alleviates your pain, and it prevents you from clenching your teeth or grinding them together.
If your symptoms persist or return after your treatment, please let us know as soon as possible.
Ease your pain
You shouldn’t have to worry that your next meal will leave you feeling sore.
You shouldn’t have to put up to constant headaches or earaches.
You shouldn’t feel like you have to live with lingering, persistent jaw, neck, or shoulder pain.
Remember to start with at-home treatment options. If these don’t work or they only work for a short time, please come to see us.
We can evaluate your condition, and with a better understanding of your situation, we may be able to design a mouthguard to help you and your jaw feel more relaxed. This may be just the thing you need to get back to living your life without persistent pain.
Contact Nashua Family Dentistry for help with your TMJ problems or any other oral health issue you may be concerned about. Call us at 603-546-7460 or fill out our online form to make an appointment.