Do you suffer from frequent jaw or facial pain? You may have TMJ.
Dr. Glen Wainwright offers temporomandibular joint disorder treatment, or 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.
TMJ Treatment at Austin Dental Care
Is jaw pain interfering with your daily life? You might have a 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?
The temporomandibular joint connects your jawbone to your skull. When something is not working properly with this joint, you get the pain, popping noise and other trademark symptoms. 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 in 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 a last resort after you have tried all other options.
What Causes TMJ?
We know that a variety of factors are responsible for TMJ issues. For example, 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 on the fence 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 wide
- Your jaw sticks or clicks and pops when opening wide
- 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. 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 will provide 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 during the day.
- 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. You can wear oral appliances overnight or during stressful situations. This device takes pressure off of the jaw and prevents teeth clenching and grinding.
- 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.
Call our Dentist in Austin, TX for a Consultation Today
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. Austin Dental Care proudly serves the communities in West Austin, Lost Creek, West Lake Hills, Barton Creek, and all of Travis County, Texas.