The Best Way to Treat Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
Chronic pain is a condition millions live with in the United States. Pain, in all forms and levels, can exist throughout the body, but face and jaw discomfort are often the most debilitating. General dentistry services in Houston, TX, understand the daily challenge of living with TMD.
What Is TMD?
TMD stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. You’ve probably heard of people talking about their struggles with TMJ. Don’t let the label confuse you. The latter is simply referring to joint-specific pain, whereas the former encompasses all issues including:
- Pain or tenderness in your face, jaw, neck, and/or shoulders.
- Pain when you open your mouth to eat, chew, or yawn.
TMJ is really a noun, defined as: a skeletal hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones, located in front of your ears.
This hinge has a big job to do. It’s in charge of jaw motion: up, down, and side-to-side, allowing you to talk, chew your food, and yawn. Unfortunately, there’s a number of internal and external factors that can adversely affect the jaw and joint functionality causing you both localized and radiating pain.
What Are My Symptoms?
Your symptoms may not mimic those of your friend with the a TMD diagnosis. If you’re experiencing any of these in combination, make an appointment with general dental care Houston, TX.
- Pain in, or around, your jaw, neck, shoulders, and “sinus” area.
- Issues opening and closing your mouth, specifically if you hear a clicking sound or your jaw gets “stuck”
- Constant pressure or a “tired” feeling in your face.
- Face/jaw swelling or the sensation of an “uncomfortable bite” when your jaw is at rest.
- Other residual effects are toothaches, headaches, earaches, and dizziness.
How Do I Treat It?
There are many remedies for TMD, ranging from homecare to specialists.
- Self-Care - Rest and relaxation, stress reduction, and stretching the joint can be very effective if you have a mild case.
- See a Doctor - If you’re unable to manage your symptoms at home, you can visit a physical therapist or acupuncturist. Both styles of medicine can make a big difference.
- Wear a Device - Mouth devices are available both over-the-counter and through your physician. The latter are personalized splints, mouth guards, and prosthodontic guards that fit your bite and keep you from grinding your teeth. Choose from night-only or 24-hour wearable models.
- Medicine - Inflammation-reducing medicine will reduce symptoms. Try ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin to see which works best for you. These are safe options without habit forming tendencies.
If you suspect that you’re struggling with TMD, schedule an assessment with a general dentist in Houston. Early diagnosis and treatment is the best pain management strategy. General dentistry services in Houston, TX, can guide you to the right solution for the severity of your pain.