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What Exactly is TMJ?

Maybe you’ve heard it mentioned in conversation, or maybe you have it – either way TMJ certainly doesn’t stand for “Too Much Joy”! TMJ disorder, named for the temporomandibular joints it affects, is a condition that baffles even most dentists!

Dracut TMJ Treatment

How can one joint be responsible for so much pain?

If you’re experiencing face pain, pain when you open and close your mouth, pain when you chew your food, or “popping” sounds when you open your mouth, you definitely need to call us and come in so the doctor can have a look!

What is the Temporomandibular Joint?

The temporomandibular joint is located on each side of the jaw, right in front of your ear. This joint, which moves whenever you chew, yawn, talk, open your mouth or even swallow, is the most complex joint in your body!

Its ability to function correctly is based upon the integrated action of muscles, ligaments, nerves, discs, and the joints themselves.

Diagnosing TMJ May Require More than One Doctor

Proper diagnosis and treatment of TMJ may require evaluation and treatment by several different types of doctors, including your dentist, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor, and your primary care physician.

Some of the symptoms of TMJ syndrome include: headaches, facial/chewing muscle soreness, clicking or popping in the joint(s), sinus pain, locking of the jaw, tooth clenching/grinding, tooth sensitivity, tinnitus, or pain in the jaw joints.

TMJ Treatment Options

There are a number of different treatment options available, depending on the type of problem you may be having:

  • Bite Splints (Night Guards) – Help to relieve pain from grinding and clenching your teeth. Since you often do this when sleeping, you will probably be advised to wear the mouth guard to bed.
  • Jaw Exercises – Designed to ease clenching and help relax the jaw to aid its realignment.
  • Chiropractic Care – Many have found TMJ relief through this alternative non-invasive treatment method that doesn’t rely on drugs or surgery.
  • Lifestyle Changes – Since stress can be a factor in TMJ flare-ups, counseling, biofeedback, massage etc., may be helpful to relieve some of the stress that is aggravating the condition.
  • Medication – Muscle relaxants, anesthetics, and pain relievers may be prescribed, although the relief they bring is often temporary and only address the symptoms, not the causes, of TMJ problems.

Not Easy to Live With…

Living with the symptoms of TMJ can be difficult, especially if the pain is incessant. Often the pain can disappear on its own after some time has passed, but most times it will recur.

If you have any of the symptoms of TMJ and you’re not sure where to turn, start with a comprehensive dental examination in our office: Dr. Barwick has had special training in this disorder, and can perform a thorough exam to help develop a treatment plan.

Please don’t suffer needlessly in silence. Give our office a call so we can help you manage the pain!