For many people, the troublesome symptoms caused by TMJ disorder are temporary and can be managed with self-care and over-the-counter medications. However, those with longer-term and more severe symptoms should see a dentist for treatment. A dentist can provide a night guard if you grind your teeth while sleeping, as well as prescribe muscle relaxers and painkillers.
The Mayo Clinic says TMJ disorder sufferers may experience the following symptoms:
- Tenderness and pain of the jaw and temporomandibular joints
- Difficulty chewing, or pain while chewing
- Aching pain on the face or in and around the ear
- Difficulty opening or closing your mouth
- Headaches, migraines, neck or back pain
- A clicking sound when you chew or open your mouth
If your jaw makes a clicking noise that is not accompanied by pain or tenderness, it’s probably not necessary to contact a dentist. Medical professionals do recommend seeking treatment if you:
- Experience persistent jaw pain or tenderness
- Can’t open or close your jaw completely
- Can’t manage the symptoms with home care such as ice, painkillers, or stretching the jaw
- Have TMJ disorder caused by a jaw injury
A dentist will begin by diagnosing your condition to ensure you receive the appropriate treatment. The causes of TMJ disorders can sometimes be difficult to determine, but risk factors include genetic predisposition, stress, and various forms of arthritis, according to the American Dental Association. Teeth grinding, bad posture, and injuries like dislocation can contribute to TMJ issues, although many people who grind their teeth never experience a TMJ disorder.
TMJ pain can be chronic and sometimes worsens over time, which can significantly impact your quality of life. If you believe you may have TMJ disorder and want a professional diagnosis and treatment, Exquisite Smiles can help. Contact us for more information and to set up an appointment.