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All Posts in Category: TMJ

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Relieve Jaw Pain with a TMJ Mouth Splint

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a common condition with more than 3 million cases in the United States each year. The condition is typically characterized by localized pain and compromised jaw movement that can make it difficult to chew. TMJ syndrome can cause a wide range of health concerns, such as headaches, ear pain, neck pain, and facial pain. Many people with this condition also experience problems with biting, popping sounds, and jaw clicking. Common treatments for TMJ syndrome include bite physical therapy, medications, and bite guards.

Causes of TMJ Syndrome

The temporomandibular joint is located at the base of the skull. It connects the mandible (lower jaw) to the maxilla (upper jaw) and consists of a rounded protrusion of bone and soft cartilage. The TMJ is held together by ligaments that originate from various parts of the neck and head. Together, these ligaments help support the jaw and aid in its movements.

The exact cause of TMJ syndrome can be difficult to determine. Pain can be associated with a jaw injury, arthritis, or genetics. In some instances, jaw pain can develop in people who regularly clench or grind their teeth. TMJ disorders generally occur when the joint is damaged by impact, the cartilage is damaged by arthritis, or when the disc becomes dislodged or erodes.

Symptoms of TMJ Syndrome

  • Pain or tenderness in the jaw joint, shoulders, neck, or face, as well as in or around the ear area when you speak, chew or open your mouth
  • Jaw that “locks.”
  • Swelling on the side of the face
  • Grating, popping, or clicking sounds from the jaw joint when chewing or while opening or closing your mouth
  • A general tired feeling in your face
  • Sudden uncomfortable bite or difficulty chewing

How a Mouth Splint Can Help

Splint therapy is a common treatment option for people suffering from the effects of TMJ syndrome. These appliances are worn over a period of time to relieve pain and hold the jaw in a comfortable resting position. A TMJ mouth splint is designed to be worn 24 hours a day to manage symptoms. However, some dentists may recommend that patients with mild symptoms only wear the appliance while sleeping. As splints are removable, they should not interfere with your ability to brush your teeth or maintain proper oral hygiene.

There are many benefits to wearing a TMJ mouth splint. This includes reduced pressure on the jaw joints and surrounding ligaments and muscles. Wearing a splint also makes it more difficult for patients to clench or grind their teeth which can exacerbate the problem.

During the initial period of wearing a TMJ mouth splint, you can expect to experience some muscle soreness or discomfort. As the jaw becomes accustomed to its new, healthy position, the discomfort should subside. You may also find it difficult to speak for the first few days. However, normal speech should too return quickly.

Learn More About TMJ Mouth Splints

Are you experiencing pain in your jaw or mouth? If so, contact your dentist today for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

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TMJ therapy

How TMJ Therapy Can Help You

TMJ therapy revolves around the muscles and joints surrounding your jaw. These are known as the temporomandibular joints, and help you open and close your mouth. Some people get a TMJ disorder that stops these things from functioning properly. There are many causes of TMJ disorder, the most common of which are teeth grinding and jaw alignment. If someone has one of these problems, then TMJ therapy is often recommended.

But, how can it help you? Carry on reading this article to find out more:

Make Chewing Easier

One of the main symptoms of a TMJ disorder is having difficulty chewing. Every time you chew, you get a soreness in your jaw muscles. TMJ therapy can help make chewing easier for you. It does so by encouraging you to switch to softer foods. Eat things that are easier to chew, and you give your muscles a rest. They don’t have to work as hard, and get plenty of time to recover. Avoid foods that make you open your mouth wide with every bite. Try cutting things up into small mouth size pieces to reduce the stress on your TMJ.

Relax Tight Muscles

A major issue with TMJ disorder is that they give you tight jaw muscles. When any muscle is tight, it becomes prone to injury. All it takes is a slight movement for you to strain a tight muscle, and end up in severe pain. A strained jaw muscle can be very painful, and takes a while to recover from. The standard solution to dealing with tight muscles is to stretch them, so they relax and lengthen. Obviously, it’s difficult to stretch your jaw muscles. So, TMJ therapy consists of hot/cold manipulation techniques. These work to loosen and relax your muscles, reducing the chance of injury, and relieving your pain.

Improve Teeth Health

Any dentist will tell you that teeth grinding is a bad thing. It leads you to damage the enamel and wear down your teeth. Sometimes, excessive grinding can result in the loss of teeth! But, teeth grinding is also a cause of TMJ disorders. So, as part of the treatment, gum guards and splints are administered to stop grinding. Consequently, you improve the health of your teeth, as you aren’t grinding them anymore.

Strengthen Jaw Muscles

Jaw exercises are often given out as part of TMJ therapy. Once the pain has been relieved, the focus is on strengthening the area. Why? Because strengthening these muscles helps to prevent problems from returning.

TMJ therapy is essential for anyone with a TMJ disorder. The only way the problem will get better is if you get the correct treatment. The best thing is, this therapy can be surgery free. A lot of people can improve their situation by making changes to the food they eat and relaxing their muscles. Couple this with strengthening exercises, and you’ll wave goodbye to TMJ problems. If you’re experiencing any jaw discomfort, don’t be afraid to speak to a dentist for a free consultation. If a TMJ disorder is present, then a treatment plan will be created to help you recover quickly.

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TMJ and TMD Treatment

Recognizing and Treating TMJ Disorder (TMD)

TMJ disorder involves your temporomandibular joint, which is the hinge that connects your jaw to the bones in front of each ear, called temporal bones. The temporomandibular joint allows you to move your jaw side to side and up and down so you can chew, talk and yawn. Any problems with the muscles in your face and jaw that control the temporomandibular joint fall usually fall under the diagnosis of TMJ disorder. While many people suffer from TMJ disorder, they don’t always experience the same symptoms so it’s important to recognize the causes of TMJ and how they can affect you.

Causes of TMJ disorder

While it’s uncertain what exactly causes TMJ disorder, dental professionals believe that it can arise from problems with the parts of the joint and the muscles of your jaw. Some potential causes of TMJ include:

  • Injury – injury to your jaw, the muscles of your neck and head, or the temporomandibular joint from whiplash or a heavy blow
  • Clenching or grinding teeth – puts pressure on the temporomandibular joint
  • Arthritis in the temporomandibular joint
  • Stress – causes you to tighten jaw and facial muscles or clench your teeth
  • Movement of the disc or soft cushion between the ball and socket of the temporomandibular joint

Symptoms of TMJ disorder

The temporomandibular joint is one of the most powerful and complex joints in your body due to the two separate joints that make its four-way movement possible. Someone with TMJ disorder can experience a range of symptoms that extend beyond the jaw to pain or discomfort in other areas of the body. When the temporomandibular joint doesn’t work right, the symptoms of TMJ disorder take several different forms including:

  • Jaw pain – from slight to debilitating
  • Jaw locking – locking, clicking or popping of the jaw muscles can lead to muscle spasms or cramping
  • Chewing difficulty – stiffness or pain when chewing, biting or opening the jaw
  • Headaches –can range from mild to migraine strength
  • Ear pain – earaches, aching pain around ear, ringing in ears
  • Facial pain – aching, dull pain throughout face
  • Dizziness – imbalance or dizziness due to inner ear irritation
  • Swollen face – face swelling on one or both sides
  • Back pain – tenderness or pain in the upper back, shoulders, and neck

These symptoms can range from mild to severe and can occur periodically or last for years. To find the best treatment for your TMJ disorder symptoms, you need to talk to a health professional certified and knowledgeable about treating the disorder. At Creative Dental, we’re experienced with dealing with TMJ disorder and offer a range of treatments including bite guards, orthodontics, and Botox.

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