Kevin Nail, DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry specializes in treating joint conditions affecting the jaw, such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction. TMJ dysfunction is a common problem which affects how the joint between the lower jaw (mandible) and the temporal bone of the skull functions. The TMJ is called a “ball-and-socket” joint. Soft tissues in the mouth, as well as teeth, can be negatively impacted by issues with the TMJ dysfunction. Several methods can be used to correct how the TMJ join works. Using advanced dentistry, our team can restore optimal function to your jaw and protect your long-term dental health.
What Are the Symptoms of TMJ Dysfunction?
One of the most common signs of a problem with how the TMJ works is a “clicking” sound when the jaw is opened and closed. This is caused by the disk inside the joint slipping in the socket. Over the long term, the slipping of the disk can cause major problems for the ligaments, other soft tissues, and teeth around the area. It is important to remember that up to one-third of all people experience this clicking at some point, and most do not require care. However, to be on the safe side, you should make an appointment to consult our dentists to avoid future damage whenever you experience clicking in the jaw.
Many people who suffer from TMJ dysfunction report muscle pain in the jaw. The two most common locations of pain in those affected are the cheeks and the temples. Pain associated with TMJ dysfunction can sometimes be debilitating. Chewing food can exacerbate the problems, and in extreme cases make consuming food difficult.
Sometimes stiffness can accompany the pain caused by TMJ dysfunction. This symptom is most common in the morning after waking and is caused by clenching and grinding the teeth during sleep. If you are experiencing stiffness, that is a definite sign that you should seek treatment with our office.
Over an extended period, arthritis can potentially develop in the TMJ joint, which can cause extreme pain directly on the joint. Arthritis is typical of long-term untreated TMJ dysfunction, so if you seek help to repair the TMJ quickly this outcome can usually be avoided.
Treatment of TMJ Dysfunction
Our dentists are highly knowledgeable in the treatment of TMJ dysfunction. Treatment methods vary across several disciplines, including neurology, physical therapy, arthroscopic surgery. The right treatment depends on individual factors. Our dentists look at each case to determine the right course of action.
We often recommend occlusal night guards to our patients. These devices help prevent clenching and grinding during sleep. Medication is sometimes effective in treating mild TMJ dysfunction. Dietary changes to soft food can also help ease the stress on the TMJ joint and improve symptoms. In most cases, though, normal diets can be maintained.
For help in treating TMJ dysfunction, call Kevin Nail, DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry at (346) 250-3575. When you visit our clinic we will examine your mouth help ascertain if TMJ dysfunction is the correct diagnosis, and how to handle it for your better dental and overall health. Our staff is always ready to schedule an appointment for you to visit one of our dentists.