07 Jan Resolving TMJ Symptoms is a Joint Effort
If you experience frequent jaw soreness and pain, you may be among the 10 million Americans affected by Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ). This condition is characterized by pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and muscles that control jaw movement. At Koch Aesthetic Dentistry, we use a unique treatment strategy paired with excellent service and a comforting atmosphere to relieve your TMJ symptoms and get you feeling like yourself again.
But before we get into our treatment options, let’s take a look at what TMJ is and what causes this condition in the first place.
What is TMJ?
The TMJ is one of the most frequently used joints in the body. This jaw joint that connects the jaw with the base of the skull has several muscles attached to it and is located on each side of the head, right in front of the ears. The TMJ works together with a complex system of muscles and bones to give you the ability to speak, eat, and open and close your mouth.
TMJ Disorder refers to a condition that affects the TM joint, jaw muscles, and facial nerves. TMJ Disorder can cause pain and discomfort in the joint, muscles, head, and ear. Though jaw pain may seem like a minor inconvenience, it can be disruptive to daily life activities such as eating, chatting with friends, and even sleeping.
What Causes TMJ?
Several pre-existing conditions can contribute to TMJ, but the exact cause is usually difficult to pinpoint. Possible pre-existing conditions that can be a catalyst of the disorder include trauma (such as dislocation or previous injury), jaw misalignment, and arthritis. Some people may have one or more of these pre-existing conditions that can be a contributing factor to their TMJ.
Physical or emotional stress can also inflame TMJ. If you often participate in strenuous physical activity, such as lifting heavy objects, or are in a high-stress job or life situation, you are probably clenching your jaw. Jaw clenching and teeth grinding puts strain on the joint and muscles in the jaw, further contributing to TMJ symptoms.
Not only is slouching bad for our back, but it is also hard on our neck and jaw. Spending hours in front of your computer, phone, or tablet results in poor posture, and your neck and shoulders can become strained and misaligned, ultimately affecting the TMJ. Poor posture can cause pain, clicking, and tension in the jaw.
Symptoms of TMJ
Inflammation in the TMJ can result in symptoms that affect the entire body. The aches and pains of TMJ disorder can influence your mood, hearing, sleep patterns, and ability to enjoy meals. Common symptoms include:
- Jaw soreness and stiffness
- Popping or pain in the joint when talking or eating
- Pain or ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
- Neck, shoulder, and upper back pain
- Facial pain and swelling
- Chronic headaches
- Limited movement of the jaw
How is TMJ Diagnosed?
By using advanced imaging technology and conducting a thorough exam, Dr. Koch will determine if your symptoms are due to TMJ Disorder. Some infections can cause facial pain and headaches, such as ear or sinus infections, so it is essential to conduct an exam to rule out those possibilities.
If Dr. Koch determines that you’re experiencing TMJ Disorder, our professional staff will walk you through treatment steps so you can begin to find relief from TMJ.
TMJ Treatments at Koch Aesthetic Dentistry
At Koch Aesthetic Dentistry, we offer patients various treatments for TMJ. Dr. Koch will determine which treatment is best for you based on the severity of your symptoms, lifestyle, and preferences. Your personalized treatment will be administered in our soothing spa-like atmosphere, free of stress and worry.
Patients will most commonly be treated with a TMJ splint, a small oral appliance made of resin or plastic. This tiny device is a proven and easy treatment to reduce strain on the muscles of the TMJ. The splint fits over a front few teeth, like a mouth guard, and is to be worn at night to promote healing and optimal function of the TMJ.
In addition to the splint, Botox can relieve muscle tension in the jaw. It can also reduce migraines, teeth grinding, and severe jaw clenching. The combination of an oral splint and Botox injections can be an effective treatment, providing healing and relief from TMJ Disorder.
Learn more about TMJ treatment at Koch Aesthetic Dentistry
At Koch Aesthetic Dentistry, our commitment to excellent service and a comfortable atmosphere makes us second to none. We go out of our way to make sure your dental experience is pleasant and that you leave looking and feeling better than when you came in. If you’d like to learn more about our TMJ treatment and the expert care we provide, contact us today.