TMJ is a very common problem. Anybody that has migraines, headaches, soreness in the neck, back, dizziness, vertigo, anything like that can commonly be traced back to the jaw joint, which is known as the TMJ. A lot of times, it's associated with grinding and clenching or an imbalanced bite, or even restorations that are in the wrong place. What we can do in our office is re-balance the bite, or oral appliance therapy, or orthodontics to move the bite so that it's back in the normal place, and we even have a laser therapy that goes in kind of a deep-tissue massage, so that anybody that has this debilitating condition – just come on in and see us and we can take care of you.
No More Jaw Pains
Your lower jaw is controlled by two joints on either side of your head. These are technically called your temporomandibular joints, but most people use the abbreviation TMJ instead. Whenever you open or close your mouth to drink, eat, talk, or even just to yawn, you’re using your TMJ. If you ever go to the gym, you know what it’s like to overwork a muscle — it’s sore, and it can hurt just to use it. The same can happen with the muscles in your TMJ. This medical condition of a sore, dysfunctional TMJ is called temporomandibular disorder, or TMD.
Treating Your TMJ Issues
Because TMD is a disorder of the jaw joints, the most common sign of TMD is jaw pain or discomfort. People with TMD tend to have popping and clicking noises when using the jaw, such as when eating or talking. The TMJ muscles can also feel sore and tired. Because your muscles are all interconnected, TMJ muscle pain can radiate into your neck, back, shoulders, or ears. In bad cases, you could have serious trouble opening or closing your jaw.
TMD has also been linked to bruxism. This is when you grind your teeth unconsciously, especially at night. This pressure not only hurts your TMJ; it also wears down your teeth. Other factors contributing to TMD include orthodontic problems as well as ill-fitting restorations (e.g., crowns that are too high). Both can strain the TMJ as it constantly attempts to adjust to the misaligned bite.
Link Between TMD and Migraines
Two other common symptoms of TMD are headaches and migraines. Migraines are severe, chronic headaches that can be literally disabling. There are many causes of migraines and headaches, but TMD is definitely one of them. When your jaw joints are sore and stressed, pain and tension can spread throughout the area. That’s why people with TMD tend to have sore necks, ear pain, and more. This tension can trigger head pain and even migraines.
A Splint Can Bring Relief
There are a few ways you can get TMJ treatments at our Phoenix, AZ dental office. An occlusal splint can be made specifically for you. This is a small device you wear on your teeth while you sleep. It’s custom-made, so it will feel comfortable. It shifts your jaw just enough so it can rest and heal. It also helps stop bruxism (teeth grinding) to protect both your teeth and jaw.
There are some medications that serves as TMJ treatments as well. Since the muscles in your TMJ are stressed, a muscle relaxant can help in some cases. And because this is a medical issue as well as a dental one, we might be able to bill your medical insurance.
Manage TMJ Pain With Dental Laser
Modern technology has done many incredible things over the years. Now, we can use a laser as TMJ treatments. In laser dentistry treatment, Dr. Cavendish uses a special laser on the muscles surrounding the TMJ. This energy decreases the inflammation in those muscles, giving rapid relief of pain and discomfort. The laser also stimulates healing in those muscle tissues.