Experiencing severe jaw pain? How TMJ treatment can help.
Your jaw hurts when you talk or chew. Your face muscles ache. You and perhaps even your family members hear popping or clicking noises when you yawn. At times your jaw seems to catch or lock in place, making it difficult to close your mouth. Maybe you are experiencing headaches. You might be feeling the results of temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ). Winnipeg dentists can help you get to the root of the problem.
What causes TMJ?
The facial pains described above often stem from the temporomandibular joint. This hinge joins the temporal bone just below your ears with your lower jaw. It can pivot sideways, up and down, forward and back. When it isn’t functioning properly, pain and pressure can result. If daily repetitive actions like speaking and eating trigger jaw pain or headaches you may have TMJ.
The following list provides some potential sources for the pain. These and other factors may indicate possible damage to this joint’s cartilage or the surrounding ligaments, tendons and muscles. If you suffer from TMJ you may have a combination of any of these issues.
· Genetic issues including arthritis or a misaligned bite
· Injuries (a blow to the jaw)
· Daily life stresses causing muscle tension
· Oral habits such as yawning too wide, grinding your teeth (bruxism)
· Improperly fitting dental appliances
What can you try to alleviate symptoms?
Fortunately most people who experience TMJ pain don’t need surgical interventions. The pain often goes away on its own. (It may take a few months.) You may find relief by avoiding hard, sticky or chewy foods and gum, doing relaxation exercises, having massages geared towards alleviating the pain, using warm compresses or taking an over-the-counter pain medication.
To deal with chronic and severe symptoms, discuss it with your dentist in Winnipeg. You’ll have a thorough exam, opening and closing your mouth, testing your jaw muscles, checking for loose ligaments, and if necessary x-rays to diagnose the problem. If TMJ is indicated, your dentist will suggest a treatment plan. It may include relaxation exercises, pain medication or referrals to a physiotherapist or chiropractor. If you grind your teeth, you may be prescribed a clear plastic, customized mouth guard called an occlusal splint to wear over your teeth at night. If these treatments aren’t successful, surgery is usually only considered as a last resort.