If you are experiencing TMJ pain, we don’t doubt that you are in a lot of pain. TMJ pain can be some of the worst pain you can experience in your daily life. We don’t want you to suffer in silence which is why we compiled these reasons why you should visit your dentist for TMJ treatment. Our Birmingham dentist can help diagnose your TMJ and find the perfect treatment option that works for you. See how Maniscalco, DMD can help treat your TMJ in Birmingham.
What Causes TMJ Disorders?
Before we dive into your treatment options, we want to take a moment to explain the causes of TMJ disorders. A TMJ disorder is when you have problems with the joints or muscles in your face or jaw. This can be caused by a number of reasons. Most commonly, TMJ can occur in patients who are prone to bruxism or grinding/clenching their teeth at night. It can also be caused by a misaligned bite. Those who have arthritis, a jaw injury or certain connective tissue diseases might also suffer from TMJ problems. Our dentist can help you find your cause for TMJ pain.
Top Reasons to Seek Treatment for TMJ Pain
There are a lot of reasons that you should visit your dentist in Birmingham for TMJ pain. The most common reasons our patients visit us are the following:
- Pain in face, ears, and jaw
- Pressure and pain behind the eyes
- Popping or clicking noises when opening and closing the mouth
- Jaw that feels out of place
- Sore or tender jaw muscles
- Swollen face
How TMJ is Treated
There are a number of ways that TMJ can be treated. We prefer to diagnose you and then figure out what is causing your TMJ first. If you have TMJ pain because you grind or clench your teeth, we will recommend a night guard. If you have a jaw injury, we will find a way to fix it. There are also other treatments we can use to relieve your pain in a more conservative manner.
The first treatment option for TMJ pain is to eat a soft food diet; the less that your mouth chews, the less it will hurt. This will give your jaw a break from chewing and give it some time to relax. To use this to your advantage, we recommend eating foods that don’t require a lot of chewing. In addition, try to avoid chewy, crunchy and hard foods. Cut your food into small pieces so that you don’t have to chew it as much. And lastly, try to avoid foods that require you to open your mouth wide. If you complete this diet for two to three weeks, you will notice a difference in your pain. If this helps lessen your pain, make sure to stick with it even if it is hard to do.
Ice Pack, Moist Heat and Exercise Routine
Another way to treat your TMJ pain is by using moist heat to loosen your jaw up. You follow this by completing a few jaw exercises and then follow up by icing the side of your face and temples. This will help relax any tight muscles you might have in your mouth. Our dentist can show you a few different stretches you can do at home. Make sure to complete the exercises a few times a day and to ice your jaw afterward. Physical therapy can make a huge difference.
If your pain is bad, you can take over the counter pain relievers like NSAIDs to relieve the inflammation and swelling. If you are prone to clenching or grinding your teeth, a muscle relaxer might bring you relief. You might also benefit from anti-anxiety medicines to relax your jaw at night.
Grinding and clenching your teeth can put a lot of pressure on your jaw joints and muscles. Our dentist can provide you with a dental splint that will prevent your bottom and top teeth from touching each other. You can wear this while you sleep and during the day if you need to. If the splint somehow makes your pain worse, please stop using it and contact our dentist.
Tips for Pain Relief
There are a few other tips that you can use to treat TMJ pain.
- Avoid singing or yelling
- Don’t chew ice or gum
- Avoid yawning
- Try to keep your teeth apart
- Sleep on your back
- Don’t hold your phone with your shoulder and ear
- Don’t rest your hand under your chin
- Reduce your stress level
Also, try to make note of what triggers your TMJ pain.
Serious TMJ Cases Treatment Options
Not every patient can find relief from the above solutions. If their TMJ is severe enough, our dentist will recommend a different treatment.
Surgery is our last resort when none of the other treatments have worked. If you don’t think that surgery is the best option for you, consult with another dentist to get a second opinion.
Acupuncture has been used to relieve many patients of their TMJ pain.
A newer treatment option, BOTOX freezes the muscles in place which may help relieve your jaw of severe pain.
If you suffer from severe TMJ pain, you can opt for pain medicine injections directly into the jaw to relieve the pain.
Ultrasound treatment is when a doctor applies deep heat to your stiff jaw joints. We like to combine this with physical therapy.
(TENS) Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
The last treatment option for patients with a severe case of TMJ is TENS. TENS uses low electric currents to relax the facial muscles and jaw joints.
Schedule an Appointment for TMJ Treatment in Birmingham
If you suffer from TMJ pain, stop living your life in pain and make an appointment with our TMJ dentist in Birmingham for treatment. Give us a call or fill out our online form to schedule one today.