Dentist in Alvin, Texas

Understanding and Managing TMJ Disorders

August 21, 2023 8:00 am

The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is what connects your lower jaw to your skull, allowing you to talk and chew. Unfortunately, TMJ disorders can bring discomfort, disrupt your daily life, and even lead to dental issues.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

If you regularly wake up with facial tension or hear your jaw clicking and popping throughout the day, you could have a TMJ disorder. Other common symptoms include persistent headaches, difficulty chewing, limited jaw opening, and a locked jaw.

Causes of TMJ Disorders

TMJ disorders have several causes. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a common culprit. Other factors that can contribute to TMJ disorders include bite misalignment, jaw injuries, stress, and arthritis.

Managing TMJ Disorders

Luckily, there are many ways to address TMJ disorders.

  • Custom Nightguard: If bruxism is the cause of your TMJ discomfort, you can wear a custom-made nightguard while you sleep to prevent yourself from grinding your teeth. This plastic aligner tray covers your teeth and absorbs pressure to reduce stress on the TMJ and surrounding muscles. For many patients, this simple investment relieves much of their TMJ pain.

  • Physical Therapy: To alleviate strain on the jaw joint and strengthen your TMJ muscles, see a qualified physical therapist or orofacial myofunctional therapist. They can recommend stretches and exercises to strengthen and tone the tongue and orofacial muscles and improve jaw mobility.

  • Bite Adjustment: In some cases, orthodontic treatment may be the answer to your TMJ problems. Realigning your smile can shift your teeth to a better position to relieve jaw tension.

  • Soft Diet: When your jaw hurts, the last thing you want to do is chew on sticky or crunchy foods. To ease TMJ pain, eat more soft foods like soups and yogurt so you don’t exacerbate the problem. If you are a gum chewer, try to quit to give your TMJ a needed break.

  • Home Remedies: Applying a warm compress to a tense jaw will help relax the muscles, and you can also take over-the-counter NSAID pain killers for relief. Lowering your stress levels will help as well, so try incorporating meditation into your daily routine and cutting back on caffeine.

TMJ Disorder Treatment in Alvin, TX

You shouldn’t have to live with TMJ pain. To find relief, schedule an appointment at Magnolia Family Dental. We can make you a custom nightguard and discuss other TMJ therapy options. Contact us today!

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