Do you have pain in your jaw or an ache around your ears that won’t stop? If you experience these symptoms, have trouble chewing or notice that your jaw sometimes becomes locked in the same position, then you may have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
TMJ disorders can be challenging to diagnose. Each case looks a little bit different, as it has varied causes. Plus, the name refers to multiple problems that fall under the TMJ umbrella. Patients with TMJ disorder often experience a lot of pain, but treatment can make an immediate difference. We offer TMJ disorder treatment at our family dentist in Vancouver.
WHAT IS TMJ DISORDER?
The temporomandibular joint connects the skull and the jawbone on either side of your head. TMJ disorders occur when you feel pain in the jaw joint or the muscles that work your jaw. Inflammation can cause pain when you open the mouth. TMJ disorder is one of the most common dental ailments.
TMJ disorder is often caused by bruxism, or teeth grinding. People with bruxism often clench their teeth while they’re awake or grind them together during sleep. This condition has been linked to stress and anxiety, but it can also be caused by missing or crooked teeth. Patients who have sleep apnea are more likely to develop bruxism.
SYMPTOMS OF TMJ AND BRUXISM
The symptoms of TMJ disorder and bruxism include:
- Aches in the face or around the ear.
- Pain while chewing.
- Tender jaw.
- Joint locking in the jaw.
- Clicking or grating in the jaw.
You can take an anti-inflammatory to treat jaw pain in the short term. Going to the dentist is the best way to treat bruxism and TMJ in the long term.
HOW WE TREAT TMJ DISORDER
We address the underlying problems for TMJ disorder as well as the immediate pain you may suffer from the condition with our bruxism treatment in Vancouver, Washington. Our team can fit you with a mouth guard that will protect your teeth during the night. This method of treatment is sometimes referred to as TMJ splint therapy, You wear the mouth guard when you go to sleep, and it protects your teeth when you grind. Splints can be used in the long term to reduce TMJ symptoms.
Fixing an abnormality of the tooth or replacing a missing tooth can also help reduce symptoms of TMJ. Our dentist, Dr. Erika, can help you determine whether this type of approach might be useful for you.
You can also try physical therapy. We can show you some exercises that will reduce the pain in the jaw, such as stretching the muscles. We also recommend using moist heat and ice to relieve pain.
In some cases, the symptoms of TMJ disorder will go away without any treatment. We’ll continue to monitor for symptoms and can offer additional treatment if they do come back.
SEEK TMJ DISORDER TREATMENT TODAY
Get relief from your pain with TMJ and teeth grinding treatment at our dental office in Vancouver, Washington. Contact us online or call the office to schedule an appointment.