TMJ Treatment

Helping your jaw relax

The only time you may notice the joints of your jaw—the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ—is when there’s a problem. These cartilage-lined joints are smooth and gliding, allowing your mouth to open and close easily. But conditions like stress or an improper bite can cause these joints to dysfunction, resulting in a painful condition known as TMJ disorder.

Symptoms of this disorder include:

  • Pain (sometimes chronic)
  • Frequent headaches
  • Limited lower jaw movement
  • Jaw clicking or popping
  • Muscle spasms
  • Locking of the jaw

What causes TMJ disorder?

The joints of the jaw are highly sensitive to stress in all of its forms. Fatigue or changes in your bite can also cause a TMJ imbalance. Other causes may include hormones, genetics, trauma, clenching or grinding of teeth, low-level infections, and autoimmune diseases.

TMJ disorder is a common occurrence in the United States. That’s why we evaluate each patient during regular dental exams for TMJ dysfunction, and address the issue before symptoms can worsen.

Our process for TMJ treatment

The goals of treating TMJ disorder are to stop the progression of the condition, protect the teeth from further damage, and correct the bite misalignment that causes symptoms. Treatment plans depend on the individual patient and the degree of dysfunction. Some of the options include:

  • Dental therapy using a bite appliance, such as Night Guards or Bite Guards
  • Light temple and jaw massage to relax the muscles
  • Anti-inflammatory medication or analgesics

There are also many ways you can treat the symptoms of TMJ disorder with changes in lifestyle or habits. We recommend:

  • Take small bites when eating, and alternate chewing on both sides of the mouth
  • Avoid chewing gum or hard foods
  • Practice good nutrition and good posture to speed healing
  • Sleep on your side to avoid aggravating the jaw
  • Use alternating hot and cold packs for 20 minutes to increase circulation

If you’re suffering from painful jaw or other symptoms of TMJ disorder, contact us to schedule a consultation and discuss your treatment options.