The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the intersection of your upper and lower jaws. The joint consists of a ball, socket and disc as well as ligaments that allow the lower jaw to move up and down, left and right and forward and backward. An injury, arthritis, teeth grinding or a dental problem can cause the TMJ to be dysfunctional, which can also lead to myofacial pain.
Caring for TMJ Dysfunction
When you notice symptoms such as popping, clicking or soreness in your jaw, it is time to take action and care for your TMJ and your teeth. You can make some changes like eating softer foods, avoiding chewing on non-food objects or biting your nails and practicing pain relief techniques. If your symptoms persist, the dentist can help you with jaw exercises, a night guard or dental treatments to help relieve your symptoms.
Myofacial Pain TreatmentsWhen you have dysfunction of the TMJ, you could experience pain in the muscles of your face, especially those along your jaw. This pain is the result of repeated muscle contractions and can be brought on by grinding, clenching your jaw and other repetitive behaviors involving the TMJ. Your dentist may be able to assist you with myofacial pain treatments such as over-the-counter or prescription medications that will help to relax the affected muscles. Trigger point therapy, such as injections of anti-inflammatory medications, might also help to relieve your symptoms. Stretching, posture training and massage might help to lessen tightness in your TMJ. If you have a misaligned bite, the dentist may be able to reshape your teeth or begin orthodontic treatments to correct the alignment problem.
Call the office of Scott Gray ,DDS today to make an appointment for your TMJ or myofacial pain dysfunction.