What Is TMJ?
TMJ, or the temporomandibular joint, connect the lower jaw to the side of the skull at the temporal bones. When you are experiencing pain and other symptoms associated with this joint, it may lead to a diagnosis of temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMD but commonly referred to as TMJ or TMJ disorder.
TMJ or TMD often occurs as the result of an injury, but in many cases, symptoms can show up for no obvious reason. Because of this, it’s important to see your dentist as soon as you experience any of the symptoms mentioned below so that our team at Smith & Wetterhus Dentistry can provide relief from your discomfort.
Symptoms of TMJ
Many people living with TMJ experience uncomfortable or even painful symptoms without realizing their dentist can provide relief. The most common symptoms of TMJ include:
- Chronic headaches
- Tooth pain or sensitivity
- Popping or clicking in the jaw
- Pain or sensitivity in the jaw
- Sticking or limited movement in the jaw joint
- Tinnitus (ringing) in the ears
- Swelling on the side of the face
- Chronic pain in the neck or shoulders
TMJ Therapy to Treat Symptoms
When a patient comes to us with any of the symptoms listed above, we will conduct a full examination of your mouth, jaw, and neck to verify that TMJ is the right diagnosis. If it is determined that your symptoms are the result of TMJ, we will discuss TMJ therapy and the various treatment options available to provide relief.
At Smith & Wetterhus Dentistry, a typical TMJ treatment involves the following:
- Pain relief
The first thing we will focus on is providing relief from your pain. Which pain relief option will work best for you depends on the type of pain you are experiencing and other factors. We may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers, or we may prescribe you medication to help with the pain.
- Physical therapy
Some patients may benefit from physical therapy to stretch and strengthen their jaw muscles. Physical therapy for TMJ usually involves ultrasound therapy, moist heat, and ice.
Another option for people who are experiencing jaw pain as the result of TMJ is a mouthguard. These soft or firm devices are placed over the teeth to help prevent teeth grinding or clenching, or in some cases to reposition the jaw.
Don’t Wait! Call Smith & Wetterhus Today
If you are experiencing pain, discomfort, or sensitivity that you think could be related to TMJ, call our Puyallup, WA office today. You don’t have to live another day in pain when there are numerous options available to help you feel better.
Call Smith & Wetterhus Dentistry at 253-999-9419 to schedule an appointment. We will get you in as soon as possible.