Millions of people every year consult a TMJ dentist because they suffer from chronic pain in the facial area, including things such as headaches, jaw pain, and even earaches. While there are many reasons such ailments can occur, they are often related to a condition referred to as TMJ. This condition greatly affects a person’s quality of life. It causes debilitating pain that reduces the ability to successfully eat, sleep, and even function well in everyday activities. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available, especially with the assistance of a TMJ dentist. Read on to discover more about TMJ and what you can do to combat it.
Temporomandibular disorder (TMJ) is a broad term encompassing many different conditions that effect the nerves of the face, jaw muscles, and joints. The temporomandibular joint itself exists on both sides of the head and is part of a complex system that creates the ability to properly speak and chew.
Symptoms of TMJ often occur with the opening and closing of the jaw, accompanied by a clicking or popping noise when opening the mouth. Additional symptoms may include headaches/neck pain; pain when chewing or swallowing; earache or pain in the ear when swallowing; teeth that are sensitive with no other dental issues present; general jaw pain; and pain and difficulty when opening and closing the jaw.
There are many options available for those who suffer from TMJ. The first step is to consult a TMJ dentist to determine if your symptoms are, in fact, caused by this ailment. The dentist will engage in a number of activities including a range of motion test for the jaw, pressing and touching areas of the face to determine sensitivity or pain, and listening to, and feeling, the jaw as it opens and closes.
If the TMJ dentist suspects you have this condition, they may conduct further tests such as x-ray, MRI, or CT scans. An additional test sometimes used is called a TMJ arthroscopy, where a thin tube is placed into the joint, along with a small camera, that can be used to help confirm a TMJ diagnosis. These tests help determine the extent of the illness, as well as the amount of damage the joint, or joints, have suffered.
Fortunately, you do not have to live with the pain and discomfort of this condition. Once your TMJ dentist has confirmed a diagnosis, there are many treatment options available to help ease your jaw pain. Read on for a variety of possibilities, ranging from conservative methods all the way to surgery, if necessary. One of them is sure to work for you!
There are some things you can do on your own to help manage your TMJ symptoms. A TMJ dentist will complete a thorough evaluation and recommend particular activities that meet your individual needs. These may be recommended as an accompaniment to treatments provided by your dental professional or may be utilized by those whose symptoms are deemed likely to go away on their own. Some of these activities may include:
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms discussed in this article, it is a good idea to consult a TMJ dentist. With so many varied treatment options available today, there is no reason to live in pain and discomfort. If you’re not sure where to find the best TMJ dentists, start with your family dental provider or check with your physician. Either one of these medical professionals should be able to give you a referral to the dentist that can best serve your needs.
If you’re interested in learning more about treating your jaw pain please contact Mark Levy DDS today. Our experienced staff can provide a full evaluation. They’ll also give you all the information you need to make the best decision for your treatment needs.