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What Is TMJ/TMD and How Is It Treated?

Posted June 25, 2019 in Oral Pain, TMJ/Bruxism

Scull and jawbone sitting on the initials TMJ

If you experience jaw pain, you might have heard about something called TMJ or TMD. TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint that connects both sides of the jaw bone to the skull. TMD is a temporomandibular joint disorder, which can cause joint and muscle pain in the jaw area. Several factors can cause this distressing condition, including stress, trauma, bruxism (teeth grinding), and malocclusion. Because TMD can result from so many different circumstances, it is often difficult to pinpoint. You may have TMD if you struggle with the following symptoms:

  • Jaw pain
  • Pain in and around one or both ears
  • Popping sensations when chewing
  • Locking of the TMJ
  • Damaged or worn down teeth
  • Tooth or gum sensitivity
  • Frequent headaches
  • An uneven bite

How to Treat TMD

TMD can interfere with your daily routine and have a detrimental effect on your overall quality of life, but the good news is that TMD is a treatable condition. Some patients can get the relief they need with home methods, but others need professional aid to reduce their discomfort. Trying different approaches until you notice results may be the best way to determine what is right for your situation.

Woman grimacing while holding her hand against her jaw

At-Home Remedies

At-home treatments for TMD can be beneficial when the condition is triggered by stress or diet. Relaxing the jaw when you notice any tension can help along with maintaining proper posture throughout the day. Many people find that meditation also reduces TMD and provides other mental health benefits. If these tactics do not work, the use of over-the-counter pain medication and reducing caffeine intake can have a positive impact on overall body tension. The important thing to remember, however, is many of these solutions usually only offer temporary relief.

Professional Treatment Options

When traditional home remedies cannot give you the relief you desire, professional treatment may be necessary. Depending on the extent and cause of your condition, you can choose from several approaches that can reduce your uncomfortable symptoms and help you feel like yourself again. At Gentle Care Dentistry, we offer patients the following TMD options:

TMJ/Bruxism treatment

After a thorough assessment of your condition, one of our dentists will determine the most appropriate TMJ/Bruxism treatment for you. Patients can benefit from occlusal adjustment, diet recommendations, and relaxation techniques available at our practice.

Night Guards

Night guards are designed to be worn while sleeping when most patients tend to grind or clench their teeth. We make customized trays that fit your teeth comfortably and can last as long as 10 years.

If you suffer from TMJ/TMD-related problems, please schedule an appointment at Gentle Care Dentistry by calling our office at 575.524.3722.