An incorrect bite might be responsible for your TMJ pain. Contact us today to discuss a solution.
Several pain issues associated with the head, jaw, neck and shoulders may actually be caused by an incorrect bite. Schedule a consultation to see how we can help.
Every day, you wake up with headaches, earaches or pain and tension in your jaw. Visits to your doctor have ruled out migraines, injuries and ear infections, but the symptoms persist. You take pain medication during the day and apply cold packs when you come home from work. Worse still, you're having trouble moving your jaw--and sometimes, it won't open at all.
You might be suffering from a TMJ disorder caused by an injury or misalignment. Causes of TMJ disorders can be hard to pinpoint, but once you're diagnosed, our office will start a treatment program that may incorporate appliances like splints and nightguards with injections, medication or natural remedies.
The temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to your skull, enabling you to open and close your mouth when you talk, eat and chew. When your joint is intact and aligned, you can easily move your jaw with no discomfort. However, if the joint gets damaged or knocked out of place, you'll suffer from pain, pressure and tension that lead to complications if you don't seek treatment.
Women aged 18-44 are more susceptible than other groups, but anyone can develop a TMJ disorder. Some common causes include:
Stress and anxiety increase your risk of developing TMJ. When you're stressed, you grind your teeth, clench your muscles and hold tension in your neck and shoulders. This could damage your teeth and jaw and cause the bones to misalign.
TMJ symptoms range from mild to debilitating and tend to worsen over time. Call our office if you experience any of the following symptoms:
If your doctor ruled out other possibilities like migraines or ear infections, you might have TMJ. Schedule an appointment before you make any treatment decisions. These symptoms appear in other disorders, so we'll examine your jaw before making a diagnosis.
When you visit the office, tell us about the symptoms you've experienced. Note any jaw pain, popping sounds, muscle spams and other issues that don't seem to have another source. Talk to us about your medical history--past conditions could point to a different issue.
During your visit, we'll ask you to bite down and examine your alignment. We might also touch your jaw, listen for sounds and ask you to move your jaw to check your range of motion. If we suspect that you have TMJ, we may perform X-rays to get a closer look at the inside of your mouth.
Once we've gathered enough data, we'll rule out other possibilities until we conclude that you're suffering from TMJ. Afterward, we'll talk about a treatment plan.
While you're at home, we might recommend treating your disorder with pain medication, heat packs or cold compresses. Eat soft foods instead of hard or crunchy ones, and don't chew gum or use tobacco. Massaging your jaw muscles may temporarily relieve the pain.
Once you arrive for your appointment, we'll discuss more permanent, long-term treatments. This could include massage therapy, Botox, acupuncture, moist heat applications, prolotherapy and prescription medication. We could also prescribe TMJ appliances that support and realign your jaw.
TMJ splints are mouthguards that fit over your teeth like retainers. Dr. Postol takes impressions of your teeth, then creates splints that fit inside your mouth while keeping your teeth and jaw aligned. While you can buy at-home kits, professional splints are stronger and much more accurate.
Splints create a space between your teeth to reduce damage caused by grinding. They reduce pressure and tension, relieving migraines and helping you breathe more easily. Splints also make it easier to talk and chew by giving you an even bite. We typically prescribe splits for the bottom teeth because they're less noticable.
A TMJ nightguard is an appliance that you wear at night. Like a splint, a nightguard is an appliance molded to fit your teeth. You place the appliance over your teeth, then wake up feeling refreshed and pain-free. Without the tension and discomfort, you'll eat breakfast, brush your teeth and talk to co-workers all day like nothing happened.
The nightguard aligns your teeth while you're asleep so they're in place when you wake up, relieving TMJ symptoms during the day. However, as the joint gradually slides out of place, you'll need the appliance again by the end of the night.
Braces don't just improve your teeth's appearance--they align your teeth to create a perfect bite. If you're looking for a permanent treatment, braces straighten your teeth to relieve pain and pressure caused by misalignment. They also help your teeth rest comfortably in your mouth so you don't grind the bone.
When you treat your TMJ with braces, you'll gradually notice less pain, reduced tension and fewer earaches and migraines. You'll regain your jaw's full range of motion and won't hear popping or clicking sounds. While wearing braces might make you feel like a teenager, the relief makes them worth the time and monetary investment.
If you're suffering from jaw pain, contact Dr. Kevin F. Postol for a consultation. We'll perform an examination and discuss your symptoms and medical history to determine whether you have a TMJ disorder. When you receive your diagnosis, we'll talk about treatments that suit your budget and lifestyle.
In addition to TMJ treatment, we offer cosmetic, restorative and preventive dentistry for overall wellness. Call our office, or request an appointment online to get started. Once we've scheduled your appointment, print out the forms on our website and fill them out at home to save time.