what is it?
The temporomandibular joint is the joint on each side of the face that allows you to move your jaw for such activities as eating and talking.
[photo source: http://www.aaoms.org/tmj.php ]
Pain is never normal. If you feel any of the following symptoms you should see your dentist!!
Ear pain that is not associated with an infection
Pain when you chew
Pain in the head, face, and neck
Muscle spasms when chewing
Sounds (clicking, popping, and/or cracking) when opening and closing your mouth
Difficulty opening or closing the mouth
Injuries to the jaw
Malocclusion (misaligned bite)
The most common treatment your dentist will provide. This is a plastic mouth piece that is to be worn at night. It has a hard exterior and a soft interior. The night guard allows for the cushioning of the teeth so that you do not put any excess stress on your teeth and jaw. Click here for more information on how stress can affect your teeth.
Avoidance (eating soft, non-chewy foods only)
Simple enough but seriously limits your food choices! Can you imagine eating soup for the rest of your life?!
Analgesics (medication, ice packs, heat compresses, etc.)
If some days are worse than others because of stress or excessive chewing, try some of the treatments listed above to relieve the discomfort.
If the reason for your TMJ disorder is an over-bite, under-bite or crooked teeth, braces will be needed to align your smile and alleviate the strain on your joint. Click here for our blog post on orthodontics.
In extreme cases where a night guard and orthodontics are not working, your dentist might recommend that you see an oral surgeon to have your jaw fixed. This is usually a last resort and not recommended often.
Always remember: Whenever you notice that your mouth just doesn't feel right you should come in to see your dentist!
Call us to schedule an appointment!
Take a look at our website for more information on this and other dental conditions and services we provide!