TMJ Specialist Questions and Answers
Do you suffer from jaw pain and need a remedy? Then Beyond Smiles is your solution! Our doctors specialize in TMJ treatment and can help you relieve your symptoms. Call us today or request an appointment online. We have 2 convenient locations to serve you in Dallas TX, and Fort Worth TX.
Jaw pain is a common symptom in adults. It usually goes away after a few days, but can linger for much longer. It can be caused by a number of factors, and can be hard to diagnose. Thankfully, at Beyond Smiles, we have experts who specialize in diagnosing and treating TMJ, so come in today to speak with a specialist!
What is the best treatment for TMJ?
The symptoms of TMJ disorders may go away without treatment in some cases. Your doctor may recommend a variety of treatment options, often more than one to be done at the same time, if your symptoms persist.
Along with other nonsurgical treatments, these medication options may help relieve the pain associated with TMJ disorders:
- Pain relievers and anti-inflammatories — If over-the-counter pain medications aren’t enough to relieve TMJ pain, your dentist or doctor may prescribe stronger pain relievers for a limited time, such as prescription strength ibuprofen.
- Tricyclic antidepressants — These medications are used mostly for depression, but in low doses, they are sometimes used for pain relief, bruxism control and sleeplessness.
- Muscle relaxants — To help relieve pain caused by TMJ disorders created by muscle spasms, these types of drugs are sometimes used for a few days or weeks.
Non-drug therapies for TMJ disorders include:
- Oral splints or mouth guards (occlusal appliances) — While the reasons why these devices are beneficial are not well-understood, people with jaw pain will benefit from wearing a soft or firm device inserted over their teeth.
- Physical therapy — In addition to exercises that stretch and strengthen jaw muscles, treatments might include ultrasound, moist heat and ice.
- Counseling — Education and counseling can help you understand the factors and behaviors that may aggravate your pain, so you can avoid them. Examples include teeth grinding or clenching, biting your fingernails, or leaning on your chin.
What happens if TMJ is left untreated?
Experts agree that TMJ symptoms should be treated conservatively. At-home care often provides relief and can include resting the joint, applying heat and cold packs to your jaw, and doing gentle jaw exercises.
But if you ignore the signs and symptoms and decide to do nothing, what are the risks? Five of them are reviewed below.
Chronic pain – Untreated TMJ can get worse. As your jaw joint becomes increasingly stressed, headaches, earaches, jaw pain, and neck pain will also increase. Your quality of life can eventually become affected by chronic pain.
Tinnitus – Tinnitus (ringing in the ear) can result from TMJ dysfunction. Tinnitus can be stressful and disturb your sleep.
Dizziness – A poorly aligned jaw can put pressure on the sensors in your inner ear that are responsible for balance and make you feel dizzy.
Sleep disturbances – The pain and discomfort from TMJ can disturb your sleep. Insufficient sleep can result in anxiety, depression, lack of concentration, impaired memory, and a variety of medical conditions.
Misaligned bite – Joint dysfunction can cause your bite (the way your upper and lower teeth fit together) to be misaligned. A misaligned bite can create painful and costly orthodontic issues that, if left untreated, will last a lifetime.
What causes TMJ to flare up?
An issue with your temporomandibular joint — TMJ for short — can ruin your life, or at least it feels like that. TMJ issues are painful, and it can lead to nagging discomfort since you move your jaw with basically every movement that you make. Whenever you eat, drink, talk, yawn or do just about anything with your mouth, your TMJ is hard at work. But what causes TMJ to flare up, and what can you do about it the next time you have a searing pain?
The first step is to properly diagnose a TMJ flare up or issue. Since TMJ symptoms include intense headaches and ear pain, which are shared across many other conditions, TMJ can be hard to diagnose, at least in the early stages where the sudden onset of pain and discomfort can take you by surprise. Unfortunately, the only way to determine whether you have TMJ is to see a doctor and get a TMJ diagnosis, so if you’re wondering what causes TMJ to flare up, you might need the expertise of a doctor.
The good news is that with proper care, you can decrease the intensity of your TMJ flare ups, as well as reduce their duration. With luck, you may even be able to avoid them altogether.
If you or someone you know is experiencing TMJ, we understand how frustrating that can be. At Beyond Smiles, we have specially trained experts to help diagnose and treat your symptoms, so you can find the treatment you need! Contact our office today to get in touch with a specialist. To book an appointment, call us or visit us online! We serve patients from Fort Worth TX, Dallas TX, Cockrell Hill TX, Mesquite TX, Highland Park TX, Forest Hill TX, Saginaw TX, and White Settlement TX.
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