Many of us are not very aware of our temporomandibular joints- until something goes wrong. These are the joints which allow you to chew, swallow, speak, or open and close your mouth. They are located near the front of each ear, to connect your skull and lower jaw together.
You may have developed TMJ disorder if you have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Swelling on one side of the face
- Unexplained fatigue
- Difficulty chewing food
- Clicking or popping sounds from your jaw when you open your mouth
- Persistent pain in your jaws, ears, neck, or shoulders
- Pain which worsens when you sneeze, laugh, yawn, speak, or chew food
- Frequent headaches
If you are experiencing any jaw pain or any of the above symptoms, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with Dr. Laventure or Dr. Lewis. You might not have Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD), but it’s still very important to undergo an evaluation to determine the source of the problem. None of our patients should have to live with untreated pain.
Why Do People Develop TMJD?
Many people habitually grind their teeth without realizing it, especially while they’re asleep. This is the leading cause of TMJD, and is often a stress reaction. Arthritis and trauma to the jaw are also common reasons for this disorder, although in some cases, the cause remains unknown. Working to lower your stress level and making a conscious effort to realize if you’re grinding your teeth during the day can sometimes help the problem considerably.
Treatment Possibilities for TMJD
Dr. Laventure and Dr. Lewis will do a full consultation with you to assess the causes of your joint pain, and our team always tries the most conservative treatment methods first. For some of our patients, this consists of wearing a splint or custom night guard to see if you have improvement, or taking prescription medication. For short term jaw pain, you may also have success with home remedies such as applying an ice pack to the painful area. However, if these methods don’t provide relief, our team may recommend a treatment process to adjust your bite so it comes back into alignment. TMJD can be extremely painful, but you can reclaim your quality of life with prompt diagnosis and treatment at Franklin County Family Dental.