You Can Do Something About Your TMJ Problem

August 5, 2016

Do you know someone with a TMJ problem? You may even have it yourself.

How would you know?

We will answer those questions in a moment, along with what kind of TMJ treatment you should consider.

The good news is help is close by if you live in or near Medford, OR. Our dentist at Hillcrest Family Dentistry doesn’t like our patients to be in pain, and he is ready to help however he can.

Self-Treatment

Before you can treat your TMJ issues, you first need to know what it is.

TMJ is shorthand for temporomandibular joint. You have two of these joints. They connect your lower jaw to your skull, and they allow you to open and close your mouth to speak and eat.

When many people talk about “having TMJ,” they really mean that a temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD. Not all TMJ problems rise to the level being a disorder, which is why you may be able to address the problem on your own.

What are the symptoms of TMJ problems? You could have one or more of the following issues:

▸ Linger jaw pain

▸ Jaw pains that occur during meals or after eating

▸ Frequent headaches (including migraines) and earaches

▸ Pains in the face, neck, and upper back

▸ Swelling around the jaw

▸ Limited movement of your jaw

You may be able to alleviate these symptoms with some simple strategies.

Over the counter pain relievers can help with the various pains you are experiencing.

Ice or cold packs can numb your jaw and reduce swelling. Moist help can be beneficial if you are having problems moving your jaw.

Some people also find the pains subside if they stick to softer foods for a few days, which results in less pressure on their TMJ while they are biting and chewing.

When To Get Professional Help

If your self-treatment solves the problem, that’s wonderful. We don’t want you to be in pain.

However, you may want to make an appointment at Hillcrest Family Dentistry if one of two things happens.

The first is when your self-treatment has no effect whatsoever. This is good evidence that your problem may be bigger than you realized.

The second is when your symptoms recur whenever you finish your self-treatment. This suggests an underlying cause that isn’t being addressed.

Unfortunately, TMJ disorders are not simple. The symptoms are not unique to TMJ issues, so the symptoms described above may be the result of something else.

That said, it’s better to know one way or the other if you do or don’t have a TMJ disorder.

TMJ issue can arise from a variety of causes, too, which is yet another reason they can be tricky.

Arthritis, accidents, injuries, and infections all can contribute to these problems. There is another common cause of TMJ trouble that dentists can address — teeth grinding.

Teeth grinding, also referred to as bruxism, is something that many people do without realizing it. It may be a subconscious reaction to stress, or it may be something you do unconsciously. Yep, you read that right.

Millions of American grind or clench their teeth together while they are sleeping. This can go on for hours. If you notice your TMD symptoms are more common in the morning, this could explain why.

What We Can Do For You

When you visit our office, we can examine your teeth for signs of grinding, such as worn down enamel on your teeth. We may take X-rays as well and examine the alignment of your jaw.

To treat your TMJ disorder, we want to prevent you from grinding your teeth together. This is bad for your teeth for what we hope are obvious reasons, but this also puts added pressure on your jaw, which is why you may be having your symptoms.

A MAGO splint can be created to fix both of those problems. The splint is a kind of mouthpiece that you can wear while you sleep.

It will keep your top and bottom teeth separated so you can’t grind them against one another. It also holds your jaw in a different position, which can alleviate the pressure that can lead to your jaw pain, headaches, and mobility problems.

Stop Your Suffering

First, see if self-treatment will end your TMJ-related pains. If that doesn’t work, then make an appointment at our dentist office in Medford, OR, as soon as you are able.

You can do this by calling 541-930-8036 or by filling out our online form. Don’t live with pain any longer than necessary.

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