The popping, locking, soreness, and downright painful symptoms you are experiencing can all be attributed to TMJ disorder. If you’re tired of missing out on all the foods you love, forgoing time with family and friends, and getting inadequate sleep because of your chronic jaw pain, discover why it’s time to do something about it. Since November is National TMJ Awareness Month, learn why it’s best to seek treatment from a neuromuscular dentist in Reston.
What is TMJ?
The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are those that connect your jaw to your skull. When these joints become misaligned or inflamed, it can wreak havoc on your oral and overall health. From frequent headaches and migraines to excessive wear and tear on your teeth to popping or clicking of the jaw, TMJ disorder, also known as TMD, can become debilitating if left untreated.
Why Is It Important to Seek Treatment?
When patients go long periods of time without proper treatment for TMJ, it can become extremely difficult moving through your day-to-day responsibilities. Many people who suffer from TMJ may also develop the symptoms associated with bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching), which can increase the tension placed on the jaw muscles as well as wear down the teeth more quickly.
When seeking treatment, you’ll want to receive an official diagnosis from your dentist. Since many cases of TMD are self-limiting, it’s likely that your symptoms may go away on their own; however, if after trying various facial exercises, practicing relaxation techniques, and making changes to your diet, you discover none are working, it might be necessary to pursue other forms of treatment. These include:
- Oral Appliance Therapy: These are small oral
devices that are worn in the mouth. Helping to relax your facial muscles and
prevent your teeth from coming into contact with each other, your dentist may
suggest wearing it only at night or 24 hours a day.
- Medication: Anti-inflammatories, muscle
relaxers, or anti-anxiety medications (if stress-induced) may be recommended.
- Surgery: Only in rare situations would your dentist
suggest surgical intervention.
To diagnose TMD, your dentist might opt to use a TENS unit to help relax the facial muscles and a K-7 to determine how your jaw is positioned. Depending on how severe your individual case may be, he will create a custom treatment plan.
Don’t go one more day living in pain. Talk to your dentist about ways to treat your chronic jaw pain and find relief. Before you know it, you’ll be able to enjoy all the things you’ve been missing for so long.