Facial and neck pain, jaw clicks and clacks, soreness, tenderness and sensitivity in the jaw joints are all symptoms of a debilitating condition. While of all us have temporomandibular joints and jaw muscles, (otherwise known as the TMJ), some of us in Placerville suffer incredible pain from this part of our oral anatomy. These joints and muscles are very important, because they make it possible for us to speak and chew food. We use them every time we open our mouths, usually without discomfort or pain, but when pain in the TMJ strikes, Placerville Dentistry has some tips to manage that stressful discomfort.
Causes of TMJ Syndrome
Our jaw muscles are very strong, and the joints normally cushion the force our muscles exert. When the TMJ muscles work properly with their joints, we don’t even notice them, even though they convey tremendous amounts of force throughout the day. Therefore, if there’s a problem, the painful results easily disrupt daily activities. If you suffer from TMJ pain, check to see if you also experience the following:
- Stress and/or teeth grinding (bruxism);
- Jaw or teeth alignment problems;
- Joint inflammation caused by arthritis or other disease;
- Recent injury or trauma to your face or jaw.
An exam from our dental experts is the first step to diagnosing and resolving TMJ problems. Our Placerville family dentists check for inflammation, tenderness, pain, swelling, and the common joint “clicking” sound associated with TMJ complications.
Reducing the Affects of TMJ Syndrome
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research recommends trying practical at-home treatment before attempting surgical treatments. Many patients successfully try these first steps before any consideration of oral surgery:
- Don’t chew gum, objects and fingernails;
- Take over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, as instructed;
- Eat soft foods; avoiding hard or crunchy ones;
- Use ice packs to reduce pain and swelling when needed;
- Get plenty of rest;
- Stay hydrated;
- Relieve stress;
- Avoid yawning.
Reducing stress may not be easy, but it helps minimize headaches, jaw tension and teeth grinding or clenching. The team at Placerville Dentistry also checks for ulterior causes behind any bruxism, which also may be treated without surgery.
If your pain and discomfort persists despite trying these suggestions, there are other methods of treatment to alleviate TMJ pain. Our dentists can treat TMJ syndrome with a combination of non-surgical techniques, depending on the specific source of your pain. All treatments suggested are based on a complete diagnosis and exam, practical experience and modern technology available at our convenient Placerville dental office. For more information, contact us at our clinic by using our website or call us at 530-295-8000. Don’t give up hope! With help from Placerville Dentistry, TMJ pain can be a thing of the past!