Without a healthy temporomandibular joint (otherwise known as the TMJ or jaw joint), your quality of life can be affected on a daily basis. Being unable to chew hard or tough foods, yawn, or even laugh without discomfort is a constant reminder that something is not quite right with your jaws. And since these issues are usually chronic and ongoing, they often make it difficult to feel happy and healthy each day. But there is good news: TMJ treatment in North Central San Antonio can help! In honor of TMJ Awareness Month, below you will find helpful information about the effective, non-surgical treatment options for this challenging condition.
What Are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?
The TMJ is considered the most complicated joint in the body because it is the only one that is bilateral. This means that both sides have to work in perfect harmony with one another. In addition, the TMJ slides and hinges, which increases the potential for problems if any of these movements are off track.
Symptoms range in severity from person to person and could include any of the following:
- Chronic headaches or earaches
- Having trouble opening your mouth or chewing
- Pain or tenderness in the shoulders, neck, or facial muscles
- Popping, stiffness, or pain in the jaw joint
- Damage to the teeth such as chips or cracks from clenching and grinding
- A locked jaw
The Importance of Seeing a Dentist For TMJ Treatment
If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to schedule a visit with a dentist right away. They will start by looking closely at your medical and dental history and discussing your symptoms. Next, they will evaluate your teeth, jaws, and bite alignment before recommending the best type of TMJ treatment for your needs. This might include the following:
- Occlusal adjustment – If your teeth do not come together in a balanced way, it can put ongoing pressure on the jaw joints, eventually leading to TMJ disorder. Making small adjustments to the chewing surfaces of the teeth can restore a healthy bite and relieve the pain and pressure in the jaws.
- Occlusal splint – An occlusal splint is a custom-made mouthpiece that somewhat resembles an athletic mouthguard. These appliances work by gently moving the jaws into a more favorable position over time and also preventing clenching and grinding (a common cause of jaw problems).
Living with jaw pain and dysfunction affects you on a daily basis. With one of these simple, effective TMJ treatments, you will not only get relief from pain but also have a better quality of life.
About the Author
Dr. Reagan Smith is a family dentist and graduate of the University of Texas Health School of Dentistry. With an understanding of how jaw pain affects his patients’ lives, he offers effective TMJ treatment to restore functionality to the jaw. If you are suffering from jaw pain in North Central San Antonio or have any questions, you can reach Dr. Smith via his website.