Chronic headaches and jaw pain are common problems experienced by many people, and TMJ may be the cause. Some people may spend years asking medical professionals for help with no result. This is because knowledge of and experience with treating TMJ disorders is fairly uncommon. Drs. Maria Burmaster and Valerie Hemphill have focused much of their postgraduate study on TMJ treatment, and are well equipped to diagnose and treat your TMJ.
TMJ can have a real impact on your quality of life. Constant pain can be exhausting and hard to deal with. Spending years trying and failing to treat the pain can also be frustrating. For some, the pain may be a reminder of an injury or past trauma. Barataria Dental’s goal is to properly treat your chronic pain and restore your quality of life.
What Is TMJ?
Temporomandibular joint disorders, or TMJ, are a group of disorders affecting the lower jaw. The temporomandibular joints are the joints and muscles which make chewing possible, and control the lower jaw, or mandible. TMJ describes muscle weakness or poor movement – any problem that stops the joints from moving comfortably.
Causes of TMJ
- Dislocation or other injury
- Poor natural tooth and jaw alignment
- Jaw tension and teeth grinding
Signs and Symptoms of TMJ
- Frequent or chronic headaches or migraines
- Chronic earaches
- Pain in the jaw, face, neck or shoulders
- Tender jaw muscles
- Clicking jaw
- Teeth grinding
- Unusually worn or chipped teeth
If you are experiencing TMJ pain, there are some basic life changes you can try first. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research suggests starting with simple solutions before more intensive treatment, such as:
- Eating softer foods
- Avoiding chewing things like gum or nails
- Pain relief with cold or hot packs
- Easing jaw tension
- Jaw-strengthening excercises
- Tension or stress-relief medications
- Wearing a night guard
There is no one form of TMJ, so listen to your dentist’s treatment advice. If simple solutions don’t help, more intensive treatment may be necessary. These treatments can include:
- Reshaping teeth to adjust the bite
- Splint or mouth guard to improve jaw alignment
- Orthodontic treatment
- Repair work to gums or teeth
Schedule an Appointment Today
Waiting to address your TMJ could mean needing more intense treatment later. Improve your quality of life today by scheduling an appointment at Barataria Dental online or at (504) 358-8632.