How We Can Help Relieve TMJ Pain
At Muscaro and Martini Dentistry, we are committed to helping you look and feel your best with our South Tampa dental care services – one of which is treating TMJ. Here we take a closer at TMJ, its symptoms, causes, and the different ways this common, yet painful condition can be treated.
What is TMJ?
Temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the hard-working joints on either side of your head that connect your jawbone to your skull. Constantly in use and extremely complex, these joints allow you to open and close your mouth, chew, speak, and swallow. When an issue occurs to these jaw joints or muscles, it can result in what is called Temporomandibular Disorder, or simply, TMD.
*DID YOU KNOW?? People often say they have “TMJ” when describing jaw discomfort or pain. This is a true claim, but not totally accurate. To clarify, TMJ refers to the actual joints, not the condition that is causing symptoms. The correct verbiage to use if you have pain or discomfort in the joint is actually TMD!
What are the symptoms of TMJ?
Symptoms of this condition range from mild to debilitating and commonly include:
- Jaw clicking, popping, or locking
- Pain while chewing
- Sore jaw muscles
How can a dentist treat TMJ?
During your dental visit to Muscaro & Martini Dentistry, we will perform a thorough dental examination and address any symptoms of concern. Based on this exam, we will determine if TMJ is present, find its root cause, and recommend one or more of the following treatments. Because TMJ has many symptoms and causes, it may take several attempts and different types of treatment before symptoms are alleviated.
Dental Appliance: If your TMJ is caused by teeth clenching or grinding, it may be treated at our dental practice with a custom dental appliance such as a bite plate, splint, or nightguard. This appliance will keep your upper teeth from grinding against your lower teeth, thus alleviating painful symptoms and preventing other issues caused by teeth grinding.
Orthodontic Treatments: To alleviate TMJ caused by tooth and jaw alignment issues, orthodontic treatments may be an option. We may recommend Invisalign, a process that can be completed at our dental office. However, if we feel the case is more complex, we may refer you to an orthodontist. Aligning your teeth causes the muscles to relax, and in turn, puts less stress on the joint.
Pain Relievers: Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen may temporarily relieve symptoms associated with TMJ. If the pain is severe, we may also prescribe a muscle relaxer.
Surgery: In rare cases of TMJ, surgery may be required. This could be surgery around the joint itself or orthognathic surgery – a common procedure to realign the maxilla (upper jaw) or mandible (lower jaw) or both if there is a skeletal issue with alignment. If this is the case, we will refer you to a surgeon or specialist.
Muscaro & Martini Dentistry – South Tampa’s Premier Dental Practice Worried you have TMD? We can help! To learn more about our Tampa TMJ treatments offered at our South Tampa dental practice or to schedule an appointment for a consultation, please call 813-547-5168.