Symptoms and Treatment for TMJ Disorders
- January 11, 2014
Headaches, teeth grinding and pain around the ears – individually, they may seem trivial and insignificant. But collectively they are but a few of the many symptoms of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, a dysfunction of the jaw muscles and the joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull. If you experience any of them along with other symptoms such as a popping or clicking sound in the TMJ when you move your mouth, then it may be time to visit Columbia SC dentist Dr. Doug Forbes.
Dr. Forbes of the Total Dental Care of South Carolina clinic in Columbia, SC will be able to diagnose if you have TMJ disorder, by conducting a thorough physical examination supported by x-rays, CT scan or MRI. Early diagnosis and treatment is crucial in TMJ disorders as the type of treatment required may become more invasive depending on the severity of the condition.
Initially, conservative/non-surgical therapies will be recommended, like the wearing of a bite splint or night guard that will hold your jaw in a neutral position to address your teeth grinding symptoms. Corrections on your abnormal bite or crooked teeth that cause the teeth grinding may also be done alongside self-care remedies involving lifestyle changes and stress management.
Conservative Treatments for TMJ Disorder (TMD)
Among the simple, easy-to-do treatments for TMD include:
- A minutes-long daily routine of applying an ice pack on the side of your face followed by jaw stretching exercises, finished-off with moist heat to the area
- Eating soft food in place of hard, crunchy, chewy, or large and thick foods that put undue stress on the TMJ
- Over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription muscle relaxants, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication
- Minimizing jaw movements
- Physical therapy or massage
If conservative therapies for TMD fail, treatments using low-level electrical current, ultrasound, injections or radio waves may be explored before going into surgery. Surgery is irreversible so it should only be resorted to if all other treatments aren’t working.