Jaw Pain & TMJ Dysfunction
Do you wake up in the morning with headaches and a sore jaw?
Do your ears ache?
Do you sometimes hear “popping sounds” in your ears at time of opening and closing your jaw?
Does your jaw lock or stay on one side or both sides when you open your mouth?
Does your jaw make a clicking sound when you yawn or eat?
Do you have difficulty opening your mouth?
Do you have ear ringing symptom?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you could have Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, known as TMJ.
Aches and pains in the jaw can be caused by a variety of reasons. But one of the more common causes is TMD. To find out the source of your discomfort, see your dentist. Dr. Sayegh and the ImplantASmile.com team, in Glendora and Huntington Beach, will assess your symptoms, examine your mouth, possibly take x-rays, potentially take impressions of your teeth and bite, and compile a case history to determine the source of your pain and discomfort. Since evaluation is an important diagnostic tool for TMD, book an appointment today. While you wait, check out the following symptoms and treatments.
Your Temporomandibular Joint (called TMJ) is a hinge which connects your lower jaw to the temporal bones of your skull, in front of each ear. The joints work together to enable you to move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, swallow, and yawn. The structures which work together include muscles, ligaments, the upper jaw bone and the mandible (lower jaw), along with two joints (which are the TMJs). Although people say they “have TMJ”, they mean to say they have TMJ Dysfunction or TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder), since the TMJ is an integral part of jaw structure.
TMD problems occur when the joints, ligaments and muscles used for chewing and grinding food face arthritis, dislocation, jaw malformation or injury to the condyle. These conditions cause pain whenever the muscles move, especially with repetitive motion.
Treatments for TMJ
Treatment for TMJ Dysfunction varies depending on severity of symptoms relative to quality of life. You could have TMD yet function well despite the condition. On the other hand, some patients experience severe pain and debilitating, associated symptoms due to TMD.
- Use moist heat or cold packs could relieve symptoms. Apply an ice pack to the side of your face and temple area for about 10 minutes, at least five times a day. If that doesn’t work, try using a moist heating pad at the site of pain. Be careful not to burn yourself. Don’t sleep with a heating pad.
- Stick with soft foods. Don’t eat anything chewy, such as bagels or chewy candy.
- Avoid chewing gum, eating ice or hard nuts, whistling, and grinding your teeth. (We will cover this more in detail in an upcoming blog post.)
- Try jaw mobility exercises. These strengthen jaw muscles, stretch and relax the jaw, increase mobility, reduce jaw clicking and promote jaw healing. Chiropractors can sometimes help you and teach these types of exercises.
- You could be referred to a myofascial specialist.
- Your dentist could prescribe medications or you could take over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like naproxen or ibuprofen, which can relieve muscle pain and swelling.
- Use a splint. Dr. Sayegh may recommend a custom-fit splint, which you would wear while you sleep. There are several kinds of splints (hard/soft /thick/thin) depending on the patient’s symptoms.
- Give acupuncture a go.
- Your dentist could apply injections of dermal filler (like Botox). Your insurance may not cover these. The staff at com can advise you.
- Surgery – TMJ Implants (for severe cases). This is the last choice, used only if all other methods fail to work.
- There is no one reason for TMD. Most of the time, people develop the condition based on several factors. An orthodontist could help you with braces.
- Inform your dentist if you have a history of TMD.
Dr. Antoine Sayegh & the ImplantaSmile Team do bonding, veneers and other dental procedures. He uses the latest available dental treatments, equipment, and materials – all of which make a marked difference in our patients’ experiences. We are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal dental health. We creatively combine dental science and artistry — which can literally redesign your smile. Since even a subtle change in your smile will help you to project self-confidence and high self-esteem, we love helping you feel good about yourself. We deliver the finest dental care at the most reasonable cost and accept most dental insurance plans as well as CareCredit. For more about the dental treatment plans we offer or to schedule an appointment, call today (626) 963-7581.