TMJ Treatment Ballwin, MO
The TMJ, or Temporo-Mandibular Joint, connects the lower and upper jaw (skull) and is one of the most complicated joints in the body. Located on either side of your head, the joints work together when you chew, swallow, or speak, and control the lower jaw (mandible) as it moves forward, backward, and side to side. Anything that prevents the complex system of joints, ligaments, and muscles from working together can result in a painful disorder, which is treatable by our dentists at Baxter Dental Group.
Signs of TMJ Problems
TMJ is often referred to as the complications and problems associated with the joint. Some of the most common symptoms of TMJ problems include:
- Limited movement of the lower jaw
- Clicking sounds
- Muscle spasms
- Locking of the jaw
Reaching a diagnosis is an important first step in getting relief from your TMJ symptoms. Every regular dental visit includes checking the joints in your jaw to ensure that any tenderness, clicking, popping, or difficulty moving it is not caused by a more serious problem.
What Causes TMJ?
Based on the symptoms presented, your dentist will be able to identify the root cause of your issue. After listening to and feeling your jaw as you open and close your mouth, observing the range of motion, and pressing on surrounding areas for pain and discomfort, they will discuss next steps with you. Various causes of TMJ disorder exist, including:
- Low-level infections
- Auto-immune diseases
- Clenching or grinding of the teeth
- Dislocation of the jaw
- Tooth and jaw misalignment
TMJ Pain Treatment
Depending on the diagnosis given by a dentist specializing in TMJ problems and treatments, you may first need a dental X-ray to examine your jaw and teeth. In more severe cases, either a CT scan or MRI may be necessary to further investigate the bones, muscles, and surrounding structures of the TMJ.
Based on the results of the initial X-ray, CT scan, or MRI, a variety of treatments may be recommended to reduce pain. In some cases, the symptoms of TMJ disorder go away on their own without further intervention, but for those who require treatment, there are many options available.
If over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen do not suppress your symptoms, your dentist may prescribe stronger pain relievers or anti-inflammatories for a limited amount of time. Muscle relaxants may also be prescribed for a few days or weeks to relieve the pain caused by muscle spasms in the jaw.
Some patients benefit from wearing soft mouth guards while they sleep to prevent them from grinding their teeth. Others may require physical therapy techniques to strengthen the muscles of the jaw. In some cases, individuals suffering from TMJ pain participate in counseling sessions to further educate and understand the behaviors that cause their discomfort, whether that be clenching, grinding, or chewing on their nails.
Certain lifestyle changes may be recommended by your dentist to assist you in becoming more aware of tension-related habits, such as clenching your jaw, chewing pencils, biting nails, and grinding your teeth. Doing so will help you make a conscious effort to reduce their frequency. Additionally, consuming softer foods and cutting them into smaller pieces will ease your discomfort, since it saves your jaw from working harder than necessary. You may also benefit from stretching and massaging your jaw, as well as applying warm, moist heat to relieve pain.
Receive Treatment for TMJ Now
Problems with the TMJ can cause severe pain and keep you from performing daily activities. In order to relieve your symptoms, contact our Ballwin dental professionals. You’ll receive individualized care, as well as the best and latest dental technology made to help diagnose the root cause of your discomfort. Our dentists will be happy to evaluate your situation and offer the best treatment possible. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment today. We look forward to assisting you!