Do you have a jaw that aches or do you experience persistent headaches? Believe it or not, these symptoms may be related to a common but serious oral health issue. TMJ disorder, also referred to as TMD, affects over ten million people in the United States.
Without treatment, eventually fully opening and closing the mouth can become uncomfortable and difficult. At Ft. Worth Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, Dr. Nikki Green and Dr. Ryan Knight offer solutions for patient suffering from TMJ-related symptoms.
The Potential Causes of Jaw Pain
Our temporomandibular joints, or jaw joints, act as a hinge connecting the jaw and skull. Without this joint, eating and speaking would be impossible. When the joints become strained, TMJ dysfunction may develop. Common causes of strain include trauma to the face or jaw, malocclusion, tooth loss, and bruxism (teeth grinding).
Treating the issue will require a thorough examination. We need to assess the cause and extent of your disorder before we can suggest the most appropriate treatment option.
How do you know if you have TMD-related problems? Common warning signs include:
- Jaw pain
- Popping or clicking sensation in the jaw
- Toothaches/tooth sensitivity (in patients who grind their teeth)
If you recognize one or more of these symptoms, then you need to see a dental professional for a diagnosis. The problem can often be treated without surgery; instead a variety of comfortable and minimally invasive treatment options are available.
How do we treat this oral health problem? In some cases patients can alleviate symptoms by placing a warm compress or washcloth to the side of the face to ease tension. Simple muscle exercises can often be performed daily in multiple sets to reduce the severity of symptoms.
If malocclusion or tooth loss is the cause, then orthodontic treatment or a dental prosthesis can be employed to decrease TMJ dysfunction. However, the most common treatment involves the use of an orthodontic appliance. Similar in appearance to a mouth guard, the device can often reposition the jaw to stop joint strain.
Do you have a jaw that pops or clicks? Then talk to Dr. Ryan Knight about our TMD/TMJ treatment options. If you have any questions about maintaining excellent oral health, call our Fort Worth dental office today at (817) 737-6601 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Knight.