Do you wake up every morning with a stiff, sore face? Do you feel as though you were busy clenching your jaw tightly all night? When you open your mouth in the morning, do you suddenly hear a snap or a pop sound? Chances are, you probably have TMJ, or Temporo-Mandibular Joint Disorder. Here is what TMJ is like, and how your dentist may be able to fix it.
Like most people, you have either ignored the sensations in your face and jaw or you have consumed everything you can from the internet in an attempt to self-diagnose the problem. Most people with TMJ will experience headaches, facial pain and tension, temporal pain and discomfort, and most importantly, the jaw-popping nuisance of your lower mandible popping in and out of its sockets, which are located just in front of your ears and underneath your cheek bones. (If you do not have the popping sensation or snapping sound every time you chew something hard, crunchy, tough or chewy, then it may not be TMJ.) In truth, only a doctor or a dentist can accurately diagnose it.
How a Dentist Diagnoses and Treats TMJ
A dentist can take X-rays of your jaws. He or she might also purposely induce a mandibular joint "pop" so that he/she can take an X-ray of it or feel it for her/himself. Then your dentist will examine your molars, since many people with TMJ frequently grind their teeth in their sleep as a result of the muscles around the TM joints tightening up throughout the night. If the X-rays and the molars show definitive signs of TMJ, then your dentist will tell you so.
Next, your dentist will offer you a couple of non-invasive approaches to treating TMJ. One is a custom-made mouthguard you wear to bed. It opens up your mouth just enough that your facial and jaw muscles cannot tighten and grip so hard and it keeps you from grinding your teeth. Another option is a kind of headgear you wear for the prescribed amount of time each day or night.
Your dentist may prescribe muscle relaxants for use prior to bedtime too. It just depends on the severity of your particular case of TMJ and how much you are able and willing to spend to treat the problem. (Some people have such mild cases of TMJ that it does not bother them and they can go their whole life without really treating it. They may take a couple of pain relieving pills in the morning when they wake up, and that is all.) If you have a really bad case of TMJ, a dentist like HC Dentistry may recommend maxillofacial surgery to treat your TMJ, but that is very rare.Share
17 February 2016
Hi, my name is Kevin Nelson and I want to tell you about my experience. I had a painful tooth so I went to see my dentist. After the examination, he said that I needed to have a root canal to save the tooth. I told the dentist to just pull the tooth instead and then he explained why that wasn't a good idea. He said that pulling the tooth would cause additional problems and then he told me what could happen. I didn't want any more problems, so the dentist did the root canal and I'm glad that he did. I wanted to write a blog to tell others about the benefits of a root canal and what to expect during the procedure. I hope that by getting the word out, other people won't make the same mistake that I almost did by getting a perfectly good tooth pulled.