Do you suffer from frequent jaw or facial pain? You may have TMJ.
Dr. Glen Wainwright offers TMJ treatment in Austin, Texas. TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder can cause pain to the jaw joint and the muscles that control the jaw because the temporomandibular joints connect the jawbone to the skull. Common causes of temporomandibular joint disorder include teeth clenching and grinding (bruxism), jaw trauma, crooked teeth, and a misaligned bite.
Patients with these conditions are more prone to developing TMJ disorders because they put the jaw under pressure. This pressure can be painful and may result in more problems for patients. At Austin Dental Care, our TMJ treatment options are restorative solutions that help ease jaw pain and discomfort.
Is jaw pain interfering with your daily life? You might have temporomandibular joint disorder. Commonly called either TMJ or TMD, this condition can cause chronic pain and tenderness in your mouth, constant popping and grinding noises in your jaw, and trouble chewing.
Living with TMJ does not have to be your new normal. At Austin Dental Care, we have dental experts available who will make it their mission to diagnose and treat your TMJ so that you find permanent relief.
What Is TMJ?
Your jawbone is connected to your skull through the temporomandibular joint. When something is not working properly with this joint, you get the pain, popping noise and other trademark symptoms of TMJ. This condition can cause severe pain that affects both sides of your face. Women are more likely to have it than men, and it is most common for people between the ages of 20 and 40. In most cases, TMJ pain is temporary and will go away with proper treatment. Surgery, though often beneficial, is usually considered a last resort after all other options are pursued.
What Causes TMJ?
The causes of TMJ are not well understood in the dental community, but we know that a variety of factors may be responsible, including your genetics, previous jaw injuries or arthritis. Habitually clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth may also be to blame, but not every jaw clencher will develop TMJ.
Dentists are conflicted whether the symptoms come from the muscles around the joint or joint problems themselves, but any of the following conditions can increase your likelihood of developing TMJ.
- Chronic teeth grinding our jaw clenching
- Arthritis in your jaw
- Chronic stress, which can lead to clenching your jaw
- Missing teeth or other kinds of misalignment in your jaw
- Poor posture
- Excessive gum chewing
- Orthodontic braces
What Are the Symptoms of TMJ?
Common symptoms of TMJ include the following:
- Pain and tenderness in the face, jaw, neck, and shoulders, especially when chewing
- Difficulty opening the jaw wide (either it gets “stuck” or clicks and pops)
- Facial tiredness
- Trouble chewing in the middle of meals
- Swelling on one or both sides of your face
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Popping or clicking in the jaw
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Chronic fatigue
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
If these symptoms persist, it is important to visit a dental professional. For those in Westlake, we can diagnose the possible causes of your TMJ and create a customized treatment plan to restore your jaw to good health.
How Does Austin Dental Care Diagnose TMJ?
When you come to our office with pain that sounds like TMJ, our team of dental experts will go through a thorough inspection to diagnose the problem. We will listen for clicks and pops in your jaw and make a note of any tenderness that you feel. If necessary, we will conduct full-face X-rays to get a better understanding of the problem.
From there, our team will recommend a TMJ treatment option like one of the following.
- Medications: NSAID medications like Aspirin can relieve pain and swelling in your jaw, providing you with temporary relief. Often, anti-anxiety medication can also get you to stop clenching your jaw, which can provide relief.
- Splint or Night Guard: If nighttime grinding seems to be the problem, or dental staff might recommend a mouthpiece to relax your jaw and keep your comfortable.
- Dental Work: Occasionally, broken, missing or crooked teeth are to blame for TMJ pain. Our team may recommend specific dental work to relieve your symptoms.
- Invisalign: Patients who have misaligned teeth and have found that they suffer from TMJ pain may benefit from Invisalign treatment. However, this option is not good for patients who clench and grind their teeth as a result of TMJ. Invisalign can straighten teeth gradually with a series of clear aligners for a more balanced bite. But Invisalign is not a treatment that can stop symptoms like bruxism.
- Oral Appliances: Similar to mouth guards, oral appliances cover and protect teeth, preventing further wear and tear. Oral appliances can be worn overnight or during stressful situations. The pressure is taken off of the jaw and teeth clenching and grinding are prevented with this device.
- Surgery: If other methods are not making a difference, we might recommend you to a specialist for surgery for TMJ.
When symptoms are mild, there are several at-home options you can try to help alleviate TMJ pain. Some of these solutions include:
- Jaw exercises
- Using a heat pack
- Eating soft foods to help your jaw rest
- Relaxing your facial muscles
- Sleeping on your side
- Using an ice pack in a clean cloth
However, patients who feel severe and frequent pain should call Austin Dental Care for an appointment with Dr. Wainwright. He will make sure that you can get the treatment you need.
Contact Us Today for TMJ Relief
Call 512-518-6392 or request a consultation with Dr. Wainwright online. Dr. Wainwright is a dentist in Austin, TX that enjoys finding effective solutions to dental problems.