In most cases, simply resting the jaw, chewing soft foods, avoiding wide jaw opening, and using over the counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers is enough to stop the cycle of pain. Cold compresses are helpful in reducing swelling. When pain is not alleviated from these conservative measures, or there is a history of grinding or clenching during sleep, a splint (nightguard) can be custom fabricated to reposition the joint and protect it from further damage. Surgery is a possibility if relief is not found, but should only be considered if all other measures have been exhausted.
Simple Preventive Measures....
~ Relax your facial muscles - remember the rule: "Lips together, teeth apart"
~ Avoid clenching and grinding your teeth
~ Avoid constant gum chewing or biting down on hard candy, nuts, or ice
~ Avoid chewing food that requires wide jaw opening
~ Don't cradle the phone receiver between your head and shoulder
~ Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
~ Do not sit with your chin rested on your hand
~ Practice good posture. Keep head up, back straight, shoulders squared
~ Opt for a soft diet
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
The TMJ is the jaw joint, which is involved with the hinge opening and closing of your jaw. Pain, clicking and popping are very common problems that people experience. These joints get a lot of use throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Pain in and around these joints can be unpleasant and may even restrict movement, such as your ability to open your mouth or chew. Sometimes the disc (cartilage) located in the joint, becomes dislocated, and then suddenly slides and pops, when you open or close your jaw. At times the joint is inflamed and swollen. When deterioration of the joint tissue occurs, or the joint becomes damaged, you can experience pain.
Symptoms of TMD include:
Pain in the jaw muscles or joint in front of the ear
Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
Headaches, shoulder pain, or neck stiffness
Clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves
Swelling on the sides of the face
Muscle spasms in the jaw area
Change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact our office for an evaluation. We will evaluate your discomfort and create a treatment plan for you. We can help to discover if your particular insurance will assist with nightguards/splints. Guards can be custom fabricated with a simple impression and bite registration. Splints (nightguards) help to protect your joints and teeth.
Cosmetic & Family Dentistry