You Could Be Suffering From A TMJ Problem
- June 10, 2016
Ask yourself if you are experiencing frequently any of the following symptoms:
– pain in your jaw
– earaches or ear pain
– headaches, including migraines
– soreness in your face, neck, or shoulders
– difficulty opening or close your mouth
– clicking or popping sounds when you move your jaw
Any of these could be symptoms of a TMJ disorder. While they can be caused by other problems, too, it’s worth having your teeth and your jaw evaluated at Total Dental Care of South Carolina. Our dentist office is located in Columbia, SC.
How Can We Help?
This isn’t just a polite question that we ask our patients. We sincerely want to help you treat your problem, and that starts by taking a closer look at your teeth and jaw.
One of the things we will look for is signs of teeth clenching and grinding. One of the signs that you may be doing this is excessive wear on your back teeth.
When you grind your teeth against one another, you can wear away the enamel of your teeth. This can expose your teeth to additional problems such as tooth decay.
As far as your TMJ problem is concerned, tooth grinding puts a lot of pressure on your temporomandibular joint, which allows you to open and close your mouth. An average bite can generate between 200 and 250 pounds of pressure. Someone who grinds his or her teeth can put more than 500 pounds of pressure on TMJ.
Many people who grind their teeth are not aware of this fact, and in truth, millions of people grind their teeth in their sleep. (If you experience the symptoms mentioned earlier more often in the morning, this may be why.)
If we determine that teeth grinding is part of your problem, then we can create a special mouthguard for you to wear at night. This mouthguard will prevent your teeth from touching, so you won’t be able to grind them together.
It also changes the resting position of your jaw slightly. As you adjust to wearing it, your jaw will become more relaxed, and this can alleviate many of the symptoms associated with TMJ disorders.
Other Factors That Contribute To TMJ
Grinding your teeth can be the direct cause of your jaw pain, but it may be part of how you are responding to stress in your life.
One thing that can help is finding new ways to cope with those stresses at work or in your personal life. Exercise and massages can be effective for some people. Other people prefer relaxation exercises, breathing techniques, or meditation.
In some cases, therapy may be helpful to work through the problems in your life.
With that said, there may be physical factors that are contributing to your TMJ as well. Arthritis, infections, and illnesses can affect your jaw, too.
If you recently suffered a traumatic injury, this can affect the alignment of your jaw. You may have received a direct injury (perhaps an elbow during a game with your friends or getting hit with a ball in the mouth) or an indirect injury (such as the result of whiplash).
These are things we will want to know when you come to visit us.
What You Can Do On Your Own
If you have noticed some jaw problems, it may not rise to the level of a TMJ disorder. In those situations, you can try some home treatments to relieve your pain or other symptoms.
Sometimes eating softer foods for a few days is enough to get you back to feeling normal.
Taking a pain reliever as needed may help, too.
You could consider heat or cold. A moist heat can alleviate pain and improve joint mobility. Ice packs can reduce swelling and numb the affected area to the pain.
If these remedies correct your problems, great. If they do but the problems return whenever you stop, or they problems continue despite your efforts, that’s when you need to call us.
Don’t Let TMJ Trouble Disrupt Your Life
Having a TMJ disorder is not an easy thing to live with, and it’s not something you have to accept. You can get treatment by making an appointment at Total Dental Care of South Carolina.
Our staff has helped several patients, and we can help you too at our dentist office in Columbia. Call 803-272-4162 or to use our online contact form to make an appointment if you are ready to end the pain.