TMJ disorder, which is an issue that affects your temporomandibular joints, is a painful condition which affects millions of people. If you have been suffering from pain in your face, there is a good chance that TMJ disorder could be to blame. No matter what the cause, you only know one thing for sure – you want this pain gone as soon as possible. And, on that front, we have good news – your dentist may be able to help.
Watching for the Signs
Before you even pay a visit to your dentist, you can observe some of the possible signs of TMJ disorder on your own. There are a number of symptoms which may wind up in a diagnosis of TMJ disorder. Those include the following –
- Tender jaw muscles
- Headaches and/or neck aches
- Popping noises when you open and close your mouth
- Pain in your ear, pain around the area of your ear
- Pain in your jaw when chewing or biting
The list above contains just a few of the many symptoms which can be experienced with TMJ disorder. Unfortunately, patients with TMJ disorder may feel pain just about anytime they move their face – which is something that you do all the time! You probably don’t realize just how much you move your face until you are dealing with this condition.
Understanding the Causes
One of the reasons that TMJ disorder is so common is the fact that it can come from a variety of different places. It can be caused by arthritis, but it can also stem from a poorly-aligned bite or a jaw injury. Additionally, it is believed that stress plays a role in the development of TMJ disorder. If you have at least a couple of TMJ disorder symptoms, you should consider paying a visit to your dentist, even if you aren’t exactly sure what has caused this problem to develop in the first place.
Seeing a Professional
It is a good idea to visit your dentist promptly when these symptoms begin to develop. As is the case with most conditions, allowing it to drag on and on will only make it harder to correct. By working with your dentist early on, you should be able to develop a treatment plan which will be successful in relieving your pain.
Most dentists will use a combination of factors to diagnose TMJ disorder. The dentist may take x-rays for a better look at the mechanics of your jaw, or it is possible that the condition will be diagnosed simply with an examination of behavioral and physical factors. As a patient, the best thing you can do is answer your dentist’s questions in an open and honest manner. By providing the best information you can, the dentist will be able to use his or her experience and expertise to provide professional advice.
So What Can Be Done?
Relief is the name of the game when it comes to TMJ disorder. As a patient, you just want the pain gone as soon as possible – or, at least, you want to have the pain reduced to a tolerable level. Fortunately, your dentist will have a variety of possible treatment options to consider.
For instance, if it is believed that the pain is a result of teeth grinding, a dental appliance may be recommended to correct that issue. At first, it might not even be necessary to go this far. Instead, your dentist could lay out a simple treatment plan of ice and heat, anti-inflammatory medications, and even techniques to relax your jaw.
When the simple solutions fail to yield results, your dentist will move the case along in search of a more substantial fix. This could mean something like braces, in cases where the teeth are not correctly aligned. It is even possible that a TMJ disorder sufferer could wind up needing surgery in order to correct the problem, although such cases are rare.
As is always the case with health-related issues, your care starts with you. Even the best dentist in the world cannot help with your TMJ disorder problems if you don’t first come in for a visit and examination. Pay attention to your symptoms on a day to day basis and make a call to your dentist when you begin to experience pain. You shouldn’t have to ‘tough it out’ each day while living with TMJ disorder – that pain in your face is a sure sign that something is wrong. By working with an experienced dental team, you can get to the bottom of this issue sooner rather than later.