If you suffer from jaw pain, you may have a temporomandibular disorder, or TMD. TMD is often referred to as a TMJ disorder. This is when there is an issue with your temporomandibular joints, the joints that connect your lower jawbone to your skull. We are able to perform essential functions such as chewing food, talking, laughing, yawning, and making facial expressions because of these joints. If you suffer from a problem with these joints, you can suffer from very painful symptoms.
Pain in and around these joints can be unpleasant and lead to uncomfortable symptoms like tension headaches, earaches, muscle spasms, locked jaw, or a clicking sound whenever you open and close your mouth. As your trusted restorative dentist in Westminster, MD, Dr. Bowersox is here to help you restore your peace-of-mind and resolve your jaw pain.
TMJ Symptoms and Signs
Each patient may experience different TMJ symptoms. Here is a list of common TMJ symptoms that are often associated with TMJ disorders:
- Popping or clicking when the jaw moves
- Locked jaw or difficulty opening the mouth
- Pain when chewing, eating or opening widen in the jaw area
- Frequent headaches or migraines
- Soreness or pain in the neck area
- Soreness or general pain in the face or jaw
- Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
- Muscle spasms in the jaw area
- Worn down or broken teeth
TMJ Treatment in Westminster, MD
Dr. Bowersox will create a treatment plan to help treat your TMJ symtpoms. The goal is to alleviate your symptoms and pain as well as return jaw functionality to normal. He may recommend one of the following treatments:
A custom mouthguard is a common treatment option for a TMJ disorder. Teeth grinding is a difficult habit that often occurs during the night when you are sleeping. However, the signs are often obvious. Symptoms include worn down teeth, jaw pain, and frequent headaches.
If Dr. Bowersox determines that you can benefit from a mouthguard, he can have a custom one made that will fit perfectly over your upper and lower teeth. The purpose of a TMJ mouthguard is to provide a barrier so your teeth can no longer make contact. You will not be able to grind your teeth or clench your jaw while sleeping. It will hold your jaw in a healthy position while you sleep, ensuring when you wake up, your jawbone and facial muscles are well-rested.
A TMJ mouthguard will help patients find relief from their jaw pain, improve jaw functionality, and prevent wear and damaged to the teeth caused by grinding or clenching. To learn more about the benefits of a custom mouthguard, see Custom Mouthguard.
ClearCorrect Clear Braces
In some cases, patients with crooked teeth or teeth that are out of alignment can suffer from a TMJ disorder. A clear aligner treatment can bring your teeth into proper alignment and help you find relief from your TMJ symptoms. We offer ClearCorrect invisible aligners, a discreet treatment that is more comfortable compared to traditional metal braces. To learn more about this clear aligner system, see Clear Braces.
If you suffer from damage due to your TMJ issues, you may require treatments to restore your oral health. Certain restorative dentistry treatments can also alignment your bite. After a complete exam, Dr. Bowersox will recommend the best restorative treatments to fix your smile and teeth. Procedures includes dental crowns, tooth bonding, dental veneers or other necessary treatments. To learn more about restorative dentistry, see Restorative Dentistry.
TMJ Treatment FAQs
Here are some common questions regarding our TMJ treatment and TMJ disorders. If you have further questions or concerns, please contact us.
What causes TMJ disorders?
There are a variety of reasons why someone might develop a TMJ disorder. If you clench your jaw under stress or grind your teeth at night, you are more likely to develop a TMJ disorder. This is because your jaw and facial muscles are under higher amounts of pressure than usual. Additionally, if you have suffered from facial trauma, the loss of a tooth, or a shift in your bite pattern, you can develop jaw pain over time.
What can I do at home to prevent my jaw pain?
Take several breaks throughout your day to intentionally relax your facial muscles and unclench your jaw. Avoid grinding your teeth, chewing gum, and holding a phone receiver between your head and shoulder. Additionally, you should make sure you are chewing your foods on both sides of your mouth and practicing good posture to reduce muscle tension.
How can dental implants help with TMJ?
If you are missing teeth, your bite pattern is thrown off. This means that your surrounding teeth, gums, and jawbone are put under added strain to compensate for the missing teeth. Your teeth, gums, and jawbone all work together to perform daily functions like chewing and speaking. With a dental implant, you can replace a missing tooth both functionally and aesthetically. This relieves some of the strain from your mouth muscles and also restores your bite pattern.
Can TMJ get worse if not treated?
You may have a worsening of your TMJ symptoms if you do not get treatment. If you ignore your jaw pain, it may become chronic and severely impact your quality of life.
What can TMJ lead to?
Untreated TMJ can cause serious complications, such as chronic discomfort, inflammation, bite problems, tooth erosion can all result from TMJ. Also, chronic illnesses including sleep apnea, insomnia, depression, and anxiety may be due to an underlying TMJ condition.
Can TMJ affect your speech?
Besides doing damage to your teeth and joints, TMJ can also cause your muscles to become knotted and tense. Your speech may become slurred because TMJ weakens the muscles necessary to generate certain spoken sounds.
What does TMJ eye pain feel like?
The trigeminal nerve is compressed due to inflammation from TMJ. This causes pain signals to be sent to various parts of the body. This can lead to a painful sensation behind your eyes, which may be described as pulsing, throbbing, or swelling. Some people may also experience headaches, fatigue, watery eyes, and sensitivity to light.
TMJ treatment plans are created individualized to each patient. This is because the causes of TMJ disorders vary from person to person. You can trust Dr. Bowersox to effectively diagnose and treat the underlying causes of your TMJ disorder. Please request an appointment with our office or call us at 410-642-5634 for more information on our TMJ treatment.