If you are living with severe jaw pain, a TMJ dentist can help by providing relief. This is a common condition that people of all ages can suffer from. It can become difficult to eat, sleep, and even speak when dealing with TMJ. Many people are unaware that they have the condition, only knowing that they are suffering and unsure what is causing it. Since it can impact each person differently, this can also lead to a misdiagnosis.
The condition itself relates to the jaw and as a dentist, we commonly deal with jaw and bite issues. Addressing the problem from a dental perspective is the best place to start when looking for relief. A common complaint that people have is that no one understands the condition, the pain it can cause, or how they feel while it is happening. Visiting an experienced dentist will help because we understand the problem and won’t simply try to medicate you.
On TMJ.org, patients talk about their experiences with the disease and how difficult it is to deal with the symptoms. Many people find it hard to open their mouth since the pain is so severe while other people are simply sore throughout the day. Dental work can make it worst if you don’t see a TMJ dentist that is experienced in treating people with this condition.
A common way that we treat the problem is by moving the jaw while patients are sleeping at night. When the jaw is misaligned, it can create problems and lead to pain. Sometimes the jaw is fine during the day but falls backwards at night, leading to pain in the morning. Additionally, some patients suffer from grinding their teeth at night which can cause their jaw to clench and the muscles to be tight when they awake. Wearing a removable mouth guard or device at night can help to prevent these problems, eliminate TMJ pain, and feel better overall.
We always recommend that patients try all options including wearing a night guard prior to doing anything drastic like getting surgery. The studies on whether or not jaw surgery is helpful have been inconclusive, and there are numerous stories about how surgery made the pain far worse than what the patient experienced before the procedure. On TMJ.org, a patient told her story of how she had a TMJ implant to help with the pain and in the process her nerve became permanently damaged, which made the problem and pain unbearable leading to the need for additional surgeries. This should be avoided whenever possible.
As a TMJ dentist, we also recommend taking steps at home to help relieve your pain. This can involve placing a warm compress on your face to help the muscles to relax. Gently massaging the area will also help to reduce the tension but that needs to be done with caution because if you massage to aggressively it could create additional pain and stress. In the meantime, the best way to treat the problem is by wearing a night guard while you sleep.